What is Diet and Nutrition?

Diet and nutrition definition: diet and nutrition is the process of providing nourishment to the body in order for it to grow, protect itself from disease and generally function properly.

Many people don’t fully grasp the importance of proper nutrition in our daily lives. Nutrition is not just for elite athletes training for the big game or competition, just about anyone can benefit from an improved diet. It may be an old cliché, but the term ‘you are what you eat’ actually rings very true. Our diet can affect how we live, breath, move, sleep and function. Oral health is also vital, without proper oral health we cannot eat properly.

How to improve diet and nutrition

What is a balanced diet? A balanced diet is the intake of a core of healthy foods from the major food groups, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, nuts, legumes, which provide the nutrients our bodies require, carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle building and repair, fibre for proper digestion and so on, plus essential vitamins and minerals.

At the same time, it is about the limiting of the empty calories and processed fats and sugars that much junk and fast food provides.

Improving diet and nutrition is about increasing intake of the good, healthy stuff and cutting back on the bad.

Why diet and nutrition are important

Think about it in these terms: food is fuel for our bodies, just like petrol is in a car. Good quality petrol and oil are vital for the efficient running of a car. If you put poor quality fuel into a car, it will start to break down, run poorly and possibly even stop running altogether. It is the same principle in our bodies. Put high quality fuel into your body and it should run efficiently and effectively for a long time, and allow you to do the things you want to do in life.

How diet and nutrition affect mental health

Just as nutrition has a profound impact on your physical wellbeing, your diet can also strongly affect your mental health. In-depth research has found that deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals and fatty acids can contribute to depression and a potential decline in cognitive functioning.

There is an area in the brain called the ‘hippocampus’, which is essential for learning, memory and mental health. Diet can strongly affect this area of the brain, in a positive or negative way. A healthy diet, full of the nutrients we need, can assist it to function effectively, while a diet full of junk food can actually shrink it.

In short, good food nourishes our brains and bodies, while junk food does not. Mental health is just another reason why diet and nutrition are so important to us.

Geraldine Headley from Proactiv Health in Highgate can work closely with you to ensure that your diet has only a positive effect on your mental health.