Our food controls so much of our daily routine. Eat the wrong breakfast first thing in the morning, and you’ll risk spending the whole day feeling bloated and sluggish. Skip your healthy treats in the afternoon, and the rest of your day at work feels like an uphill marathon through procrastination and fatigue. Your dietary choices can even affect how often you smile, laugh, or cry on any given day.
Diet is a significant factor in everything we do, changing the way we think, feel and behave. But with so many different health “gurus” and dieting “experts” sharing contradictory advice on what we should eat, it’s hard to know which snacks are feeding your wellbeing, and which are going to leave you feeling less than your best.
It’s no wonder that so many of us have a messy relationship with food.
Why is food so important?
When you’re feeling peckish, there’s a hormone produced in your stomach that interacts with your brain and tells you to find food. That hormone is ghrelin, and when it starts shouting for attention, it doesn’t just make your tummy rumble. Ghrelin communicates with a neurotransmitter called NPY in the brain, which lives in the hypothalamus, and interacts with everything from your energy levels, to your memories, and your emotions.
The minute you pop a meringue cookie into your mouth or seek out a healthy treat from your desk drawer, that food begins to break down into glucose that fuels your brain. The more consistent your brain’s glucose supply is, the happier and more focused you feel.
Of course, the power of food goes beyond associations with our day-to-day wellness too. In fact, scientists suggest that our meals are a significant factor in everything from the development of conditions like heart disease and strokes, to our ability to control diseases like diabetes. Just check out this recent study into Type 2 diabetes for instance.
The scientists behind a clinical trial featuring more than 300 people from the UK found that an intensive programme for weight management could encourage the remission of Type 2 diabetes symptoms in 86 per cent of patients!
Changing your relationship with food
As the impact of food on our wellbeing becomes more obvious, it’s easy to assume that you need to count every calorie and track every bite if you want to be the healthiest version of you. However, the truth is that just because people with diabetes might benefit from an extreme weight loss programme, doesn’t mean the same solution is right for everyone.
While some people say that they can focus better at work after they’ve cut gluten out of their diet, others feel exhausted and overwhelmed when they don’t eat plenty of whole grains. Tapping into the power of food to feel your best is all about finding out what works best for you.
Eating too much of the wrong foods is bad for you – everyone knows that. But cutting everything you enjoy out of your diet won’t lead to a sustainable lifestyle change. Instead, remember that everyone is a snowflake. In other words – we’re all different!
Bring balance to your dietary choices, prioritise healthy treats, and enjoy the empowered feeling that comes from taking control of your own eating habits.