The foods we eat have a huge impact on our mental health and, by extension, our business.
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Few entrepreneurs understand how their diet affects their mental health and how the foods they eat reduce their ability to cope with stress. In recent years, our collective mental health has deteriorated immensely due to the isolation in quarantine and poor food choices we have made. Being in business for ourselves has created a unique answer to understanding how food can affect our state of mind. Food also affects our ability to operate at the level required as business owners to maintain peak performance.
More and more research is published every year showing how the foods we eat affect our ability to cope with the everyday stresses of a business. Coupled with the fact that eating the wrong foods greatly increases our anxiety, depression, and general malaise. Mental disorders of all kinds affect an increasing number of people every year. Current research suggests that over 26% of adults suffer from some form of mental health disorder: anxiety, depression, Alzheimer's, and dementia, to name a few. That number is growing every year, especially among those who are self-employed.
The science behind food and our mood
As entrepreneurs, we need to strengthen our system both physically and mentally in order to let the creative juices flow for growth and sustainability. Choosing the right fuel can mean the difference between the upper echelons of success and the ho-hum-slack of getting through.
Foods high in simple carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sugars are known to increase inflammation in the brain and affect insulin levels, which in turn affect how neurotransmitters work. These SAD (Standard American Diet) foods trigger the fight or flight response in our body and also increase the inflammatory response. It becomes a vicious circle that feeds itself and becomes an infinity loop. These foods are also extremely low in vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids, all of which are the building blocks of how the brain and body communicate with itself. When we don't have the building blocks to make dopamine and serotonin, our nervous system becomes “depressed”. We feel hopeless and develop fear that can even lead to suicidal admiration. When this happens, our nervous system becomes very vulnerable to the stress response and pushes us further down the path of mental illness.
Related: Is Covid-19 A Mental Health Tipping Point?
How To Eat Healthier Foods To Improve Our Business Mental Health
Restructuring your diet will greatly affect the outcome of your mental health. If the brain is not properly energized, your ability to be creative and to think ahead about how your business is going is severely limited. Your business and your future depend on a well-nourished and energized biological system that allows easy adaptation and rapid growth. When you increase your vegetable and fruit intake with what I call the Paleo RAINBOW diet (all colors of the rainbow), you increase the number of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and organic meats that your body uses as building blocks Needed for our neurotransmitters.
The higher the nutrient density of the food, the healthier, more adaptable and faster-growing you are. Remember to get a cup of each color of the rainbow every day. You don't fill your car with crappy fuel – why should you put it in your body?
You can also relieve inflammation and mental health problems with nutritional supplements. There are some very important specific nutritional supplements that you can take to increase brain function and reduce mental health problems. Basic foods that can be added are:
A B-complex formula that breaks down and supports the nervous system along with whole body detox
Essential fatty acids (Omega 3s). You want a higher DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) content in your dietary supplement as it is very specific for brain function and brain plasticity. As a society, our blood is poor in omega-3 fatty acids, which leads to cellular rigidity throughout the body: blood, brain, vascular system and, in men, erectile dysfunction.
Folate: Checking your methylation genetics and blood status is key to knowing if you have any problems with folate in your body.
Nootropics are nutritional supplements that boost your brain function. They are nutritional supplements that can really strengthen the brain once you've gotten all other problems out of the way. In other words, don't bother about it until you've fixed the underlying issues.
Similar: How my first appointment with a psychiatrist really was
Your mental state is a direct reflection of your surroundings. What you surround yourself with, along with what you propel your body with, will be the output of your system. Garbage in and around is garbage out. Bad mind and body are synonymous with bad unsuccessful business. The decision to fuel your nervous system along with your body (the paleo-rainbow diet, as mentioned earlier) will take your system to the next level of optimization and peak performance along with your business. The old adage of proper diet and exercise is still the key to success today. Strong body, strong mind, strong business.
Related: 3 sustainability trends that are driving change in the food and nutrition industry