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Food Can Impact Mental Health

The following was published by the Barbados Advocate on March 15th, 2021 by CARA L. JEAN-BAPTISTE

Our relationship with food must shift from just ‘tasting good’ to ‘how will this particular substance I eat or drink impact the way I think or my mood for the day’. This is the view of Janelle Chase-Mayers, Mental Health Consultant and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. During a recent webinar she hosted recently titled ‘Understanding Nutrition and Mental Health’, Chase-Mayers highlighted the fact that food had the ability to impact our mental health. “When we can begin teaching that food is fuel for performance and it’s designed to make us perform tasks such as growth, healing, thinking, feeling, sleeping, to increase energy or slow us down or even to lower our inhibitions, only then will we understand the importance role food will play in our mental health,” she said. “Every decision we make about food starts from the brain and we need to start eating foods for our brain and I wanted to have an in depth conversation about mental health and nutrition.” She expressed that mental health was more than just

mental disorders and mental disease and unfortunately, she noted that not many of us were aware of how food had the ability to impact our mental health. She encouraged persons to keep a food diary and make a record on whether or not the foods they ate elicited anger or joy, or energy or lethargy.

“Because when we can start making a decision surrounding a food, we can say look, when I eat this particular food, I feel better or I have more energy or I feel slow and low energy, you have to be mindful of those particular things,” she said.

Chase-Mayers also spoke about the importance of supplementing and encouraged persons to pay more attention to the best vitamins and minerals that are needed for health. She noted that when persons are on a journey about improving their mental health, one thing that they needed to be aware of was how the food improved their well-being and health.

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