Your Diet Means More Than You Think.
Early morning as always. Some morning routine as always. Some morning exercise, but just on special occasions, a cup of green tea, something to eat for breakfast, and I am on my way to work. The lunch break usually comes sooner than I expect it, and I have to hurry up to catch my “to do” list. When I reach home in the evening tired and unable to think more, everything I want is to have a quick dinner, and rest with a good book or do something meaningful to fulfill my home obligations. However, I feel so powerless and in a bad mood, that I am able just to sit and stare at the same old painting on the wall in front. Finally, I go to bed with an aching head and keep asking myself “What did I do wrong that I ended up my day like this? I try to be physically active (well, at least on special occasions), I do love my job a lot, and, of course, I eat healthily. But do I?” And then I start to remember all those little temptations I gave in during the day. I didn’t have time for long breakfast, so I ate just one sandwich with cheese, then I took few chocolates and some cookies on the way to work, what I had for lunch I can hardly remember, but it was something fat and salty from cafeteria and soda drink for sure, and ended up my day with fried processed meat and some salads. Some salads and, ach, I also had an apple as a snack after lunch… “See, I said that my diet is healthy…” I tried to excuse myself knowing deep inside that this is absolutely not true and I should try harder tomorrow. Because what we eat has the power to affect us more than we think.
Research has shown that a healthy diet is just not related to better physical health outcomes (Birch et al., 2007), but it also has impact on our feelings, moods and emotions (Jacka et al., 2011; Khalid, Williams & Reynolds, 2017, Sarris et al., 2015), satisfaction with life (Schnettler et al., 2017a; Schnettler et al., 2017b) and even on our work performance and productivity (Friedman, 2014; Pelletier, Boles & Lynch, 2004). It is also important when we speak about children and adolescents because diet affects such important areas of their lives as academic performance in school (Florence, Asbridge & Veugelers, 2008; Ickovics et al., 2014), cognitive development and behavior (Benton, 2008). Findings of these studies are quite impressive because they underline the importance of our diet. Our thoughts, feelings, and behavior with other people in our social environment indicate what kind of persons we are. And what is most incredible, that all of this may be a matter of our diet and not only of long years of costly psychotherapy. So, why not to become a better self today by paying more attention to what we eat and being more conscious about our food choice in our busy schedules? Changing our diet to healthier is just one simple step towards our better version of selves. I know it might be hard sometimes, but at least we deserve a chance to try. I am starting now. Will you join me?
Benton, D. (2008). The influence of children’s diet on their cognition and behavior. European Journal Nutrition, 47 (3), 25–37, DOI 10.1007/s00394-008-3003-x.
Birch L, Savage J.S, Ventura A. (2007). Influences on The Development of Children’s Eating Behaviours: From Infancy to Adolescence, Can J Diet Pract Res, 68, 1-56.
Florence, M. D., Asbridge, M., & Veugelers, P. J. (2008). Diet Quality and Academic Performance. Journal of School Health, 78 (4), 209-216.
Friedman, R. (2014). What You Eat Affects Your Productivity, Harward Business Review. https://hbr.org/2014/10/what-you-eat-affects-your-productivity
Ickovics, J. R., Carroll-Scott, A., Peters, S. M., Schwartz, M., Gilstad-Hayden, K., & Mccaslin, C. (2013). Health and Academic Achievement: Cumulative Effects of Health Assets on Standardized Test Scores Among Urban Youth in the United States. Journal of School Health, 84 (1), 40-49.
Jacka, F. N., Kremer, P. J., Berk, M., Silva-Sanigorski, A. M., M. Moodie, Leslie, E. R., Pasco, J. A., Swinburn, B. A. (2011). A Prospective Study of Diet Quality and Mental Health in Adolescents, PLoS ONE, 6 (9), 24805-24812, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024805
Pelletier B, Boles M, Lynch W. Change in health risks and work productivity over time. J Occup Environ Med 2004;46:746-754.
Sarris, J., Logan, A.C., Akbaraly, T.N. (2015). The International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. Lancet Psychiatry, 2, 271-274.
Schnettler, B., Miranda-Zapata, E., Grunert, K. G., Lobos, G., Denegri, M., Hueche, C., & Poblete, H., (2017a). Life Satisfaction of University Students in Relation to Family and Food in a Developing Country. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1522-1532, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01522
Schnettler, B., Grunert, K., Orellana, L., Sepúlveda, J., Miranda, H., Lobos, G., Adasme– Berríos, G., Denegri, M., Mora, M., Salinas-Onate, N., Hueche, C., & Etchebarne, S. (2017b). Dietary restraint, life satisfaction and self-discrepancy by gender in university students. Suma Psicológica, 24, 25–33.
cognitive development, diet, emotions, ESR9, healthy eat, performance