From the Optimal Aging Portal | Mental well-being: What’s ‘food’ got to do with it?
Published: July 8, 2020
The Bottom Line
- Crises, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, impact mental well-being by giving rise to feelings of sadness, fear, stress, and boredom. These emotions can impact our diet.
- Dietary strategies may lead to a small enhancement in mental well-being through mood.
- Given the established benefits of adopting a healthy diet on physical health—such as achieving, weight loss, avoiding weight gain, and reducing the risk of chronic disease—and emerging evidence around potential benefits to mental well-being, paying attention to our diet is a good practice.
- Work with a health professional, such as a dietitian, to put together a diet plan tailored to your needs.
From weight loss and weight maintenance to chronic disease prevention and management, what we put into our bodies plays a role in “shaping” our physical health. The benefits of eating a healthy and well-balanced diet for physical wellness are widely recognized. Sticking to a healthy diet, however, can be challenging even under the most normal of circumstances. Add an unexpected pandemic into the mix and this goal may seem even farther away.
Think about it like this: when we’re happy, we often gather around food to celebrate; when we’re sad or worried, we sometimes turn to food for comfort; and when we’re bored, eating or cooking can give us something to do to pass the time. These are just a few examples to highlight how our eating behaviours can be influenced by our emotions.
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The McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (mcmasteroptimalaging.org), a unique online health resource created by McMaster University to support the healthy aging of Canada’s older adult population, is highlighting ways to stay active and engaged while practicing physical distancing during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.