1.1 Mental Well-Being Is Dependent Upon Good Nutrition
Proper nutrition is not only the foundation of physical health, but it is also the prerequisite for emotional and mental well-being. “A sound mind in a sound body” is how the Greeks of two thousand years ago expressed this relationship. Today we have such terms as psychosomatic, holistic health, dietetics and so forth that also point out the growing awareness that the health of the mind is inseparable from the health of the body.
Nor should this observation be surprising in the least. Illnesses and poor physical health give rise to feelings of anxiety, worry and depression. And, similarly, mental stress and emotional upset can contribute to the many sicknesses commonly thought to be physical in origin. So interdependent are the health of the body and mind that there can be no such thing as a “depressed healthy person” or a “schizophrenic physically sound individual.”
It can be said that radiant physical health begets perfect emotional and mental poise and a calm, clear mind produces physical well-being. There is no disputing the fact that a healthy mental and emotional state can be insured through good nutrition.
The fact that mental well-being depends upon nutrition should be obvious if we realize that the quality of our blood determines the quality of our thoughts. Like all other organs, our brain receives its sustenance in the form of oxygen and nutrients carried in the bloodstream. If the blood is almost wholly withdrawn from the brain, unconsciousness occurs. If the brain is drained of blood for a short time, death results.
When the oxygen content of the blood drops due to poor respiration, the oxygen available to the brain also drops, and we become listless and apathetic. Our mental processes become slow and confused.
If vital nutrients are missing from the bloodstream, or if toxins are being circulated through the body, the brain is as surely affected just as the liver, kidneys, bones and muscles are.
In extreme cases of a toxic bloodstream or poor nutrient availability, mental illnesses result. These illnesses are obvious to even the casual observer. However, in the more subtle cases of “blood poisoning” brought about by faulty nutrition, the mind is also intimately affected.
In fact, the majority of the population has never enjoyed complete mental health because their bloodstreams, which nurture the brain, are in a constant state of pollution. Few people have experienced the crystal clarity of acute mental perception that accompanies a purified bloodstream. Consequently, most people accept their daily fears and frustrations as natural. With optimum nutrition, however, such a compromise in our mental well-being is unnecessary.
1.2 Emotions and Their Relationship to Diet and. Health
Emotions, too, play an intricate role in nutrition—both by affecting our choice of diet and by influencing the use of nutrients within the body. In fact, perhaps the most important reason why optimum nutrition is not universally applied is that eating has so many emotional connotations. To many people, eating and food are connected with the emotional states of pleasure, pain, reward, punishment and so forth.
All of us have pleasant or unpleasant associations with food, and we resist changing these associations. As a consequence, the average person often thinks that proper nutrition means giving up those foods they emotionally favor and eating those they hate. “If it tastes good, it’s fattening” is the common joke among dieters.
Not only do these emotions influence our choice of diet, but the diet in turn influences the emotions. Certain foods play havoc with the blood sugar level, sending people into periods of depression or irritability. Other foods make calm children noisy and hyperactive, while certain foods, such as a chocolate candy bar, have been known to trigger schizoid attacks in susceptible individuals.
Clearly, nutrition plays a vital role in our mental and emotional health. By studying this role in detail, we can discover the optimum diet and the proper mental and emotional attitudes that promote total health in the individual.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. How Foods Affect Mental And Emotional Health
- 3. Emotional Aspects Of Diet And Digestion
- 4. Methods For Overcoming Negative Emotional Conditioning
- 5. The Optimum Diet For Mental And Emotional Health
- 6. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: About Emotions And Health By Marti Fry
- Article #2: Fruitarianism For Health And Long Life By Dr. O.L.M. Abromowski
- Article #3: The Mind-Benders By Kecki R. Sidhwa, N.D., D.O.