I recently assisted holistic nutritionist and wellness coach Ivana Silva in delivering a series of health food talks and demonstrations as part of the Ritz-Carlton Dubai’s Wellness Week. One of the talks Ivana gave was on ‘Well-being through Food’ and I thought I would share with you some of the key information from it.
I was most intrigued listening to Ivana speaking about chronic adrenal fatigue, which I learned is a direct result of how one chooses to think. I am a huge believer in positive thinking and mind over matter. If you allow your body to think you are too tired for that run you had planned later in the day – chances are you will actually begin to feel more tired and maybe not go after all.
Food has the power to make us happy – true; but lack of DHA, a fatty acid found most abundantly in the brain, can make us feel sad so it is vital we are getting sufficient amounts of it in our diets. We can find these omega-3 fats in fish, flaxseed oil (find it in the fridge in health food stores), walnuts and chia seeds. [Ensure when buying salmon that it is wild and not farmed as only wild fish, feeding on the correct nutrients from the sea, contain the essential omega-3s.]
Omega-3 fatty acids also excellent for your brain, heart and mood and they have been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for fat storage, particularly around the stomach area. Cortisol is also linked to depression and a lack of sleep.
Another key message from the talk was recognising foods that physically make us feel better and those that make us feel good on a psychological level – i.e.: comfort foods.
So what foods should you start chowing down on to capture all of this feel-good energy?
- Brown rice
- Brazil nuts
- Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Apple cider vinegar
- Raw cacao
- Olive and hemp oils
- Beans and pulses
- Kale and spinach
- Green beans
Finally, fluids – a minimum of 2 litres per day; this includes teas and liquids in foods. 2.5 litres are lost each day through your lungs, sweat and urine that need to be replaced for correct mental functioning, reducing irritability and improving concentration.
Now it’s just a matter of application. Take a screenshot of the above list and have it on-hand the next time you go grocery shopping to help steer you in the right direction. Secondly, give it time. You can’t expect to eat well for a few days or a week and miracles to happen. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. I would say, realistically, after 1 month you should notice a major improvement in your mood, energy, sleep patterns and exercise performance if eating correctly and looking after your body. That means staying active – Check out my Get in Shape & Stay in Shape post! Of course you will notice changes along the way but it is about patience and adopting new lifestyle habits rather than a quick fix solution.
Health is for life!