When I think about health; I always come back to the definition given as long ago as 1946, by the World Health Organisation (WHO).2 “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In other words, I can be in excellent physical shape – enjoying low cholesterol, a healthy body weight, and good overall physical fitness – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am healthy. Mental health is of equal value and just as important as our physical health, and both of these can affect our social well-being. It took me years and much reading around the subject to appreciate that my mental health plays a part in my physical health and vice versa. That’s why it’s crucial that the food we eat supports both our mind and our body.
KNOWING THAT WHAT I EAT DIRECTLY IMPACTS ON HOW I FEEL
Common foods from leafy green vegetables to the basic garden-variety tomato may positively affect your brain chemistry and help ward off depression and anxiety.3 I also find the gut-brain connection fascinating, for I have always been a person who reacts at a ‘gut-level.’ “It’s now become clear that what’s going on in the gut determines, to some degree, what happens in the brain.” 3
“Change Your Gut, Change Your Mood”3
As Dr. David Pulmutter states
In the next 2 Blogs in this Series are some of the messages I have taken and things I have learned. This knowledge influences the foods I embrace; for ‘health’ as envisaged by the WHO.
Rosaleen McHugh, Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, Completed Seventh Day of September 2019, T. Colin Campbell Centre for Nutrition Studies and eCornell
1 Gregor, M. How Not to Die. 2015. Pan Books: London. www.nutritionfacts.org
2 World Health Organisation(WHO) Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organisation as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 1922 June 1946 https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/constitution
3 Perlmutter, D. Brain Maker. 2015. Hodder & Stoughton Ltd: London www.hodder.co.uk