Food & You: The Body-Mind Connection
There’s no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional well-being?
Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to the body and mind. When we have an imbalance, how do we know it is food? The trick is to determine if the food you are eating is causing the issue or there is something else happening. This is where Dr. Wells’s expertise may be needed.
Food intolerances can play a role when we eat foods we cannot digest, they form rotting food material in the GI tract and cause an increase in toxic burden in the body. When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body’s balance of nutrients, hormones, adrenals and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body’s ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, talk with Dr. Wells about the role these or other foods may play in your health.
Foods that Impact Body-Mind Well-being
Caffeine: The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality, which affects energy, concentration, and memory. Caffeine can aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety.
Food Dye: Those brightly colored, processed and packaged foods come with a rainbow of health risks. Listed on ingredient labels as “Blue 2,” or “Citrus Red,” food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They’re also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world.
Sugars: Increased cane sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much dietary sugar can result in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. Sugars that can act as poison include High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, artificial and “natural” sweeteners. The cause imbalance in GI flora by increasing bad bacteria and yeast and decreasing good bacteria.
MSG: Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. It can be listed under the name “natural flavors.” Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and over stimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity.
Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is an important first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Your practitioner may ask you to keep a mind-body food journal to provide a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.