Physical and mental health
Diet doesn’t only affect your physical health. According to the Mental Health Foundation, what we eat can also affect our mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that our gut can reflect how we’re feeling: if we’re stressed, it can speed up or slow down. Healthy food for our gut includes fruit, vegetables, beans and probiotics. Certain foods can make us feel better, for example a Mediterranean-style diet (one with lots of vegetables, seafood, fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, cereal and grains) supplemented with fish oil can reduce the symptoms of depression. Paying attention to what you put into your body can have an incredible effect on improving your health from all perspectives.
“My single biggest piece of advice when it comes to improving your diet is to focus on the quality of the foods you eat rather than the quantity.”Inder Singh-Virdi
In 2019, 64 percent of adults in England were overweight1, with 28 per cent being obese and 3 per cent morbidly obese. Obesity is a significant health risk and is associated with increased risk of diseases including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Many health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can be reversed with dietary intervention.
The NHS Eat Well website is a great starting point for working out what good foods you should include as part of your daily diet. Eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions and consuming the right amount of food and drink will help to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Try to choose a variety of different foods from the five main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients. Be aware of where you source information from, as there can be lots of conflicting advice from unqualified healthy-eating gurus. Dieticians are qualified, regulated and often work closely with NHS departments. Nutritional therapists are increasingly joining GP practices around the UK to help address lifestyle-related diseases.
Simple steps to better nutrition – expert tips
We spoke to Windsor-based Nutritional Therapist Inder Singh Virdi BA(Hons) mBANT to ask him for some simple steps to improve your nutrition. Inder graduated with distinction from the College of Naturopathic Medicine whilst reading for an MSc in neuroscience and is a member of the British Association of Nutritional Therapy.
“My single biggest piece of advice when it comes to improving your diet is to focus on the quality of the foods you eat rather than the quantity. Clients come to see me worrying about the number of calories they eat rather than the types of foods they eat. If you are eating a nutrient-dense diet, with at least five portions of vegetables per day, the calories will take care of themselves and results will come quickly.
Secondly, lifestyle change is a journey and not a destination. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be kind and be patient with yourself. You can start with baby steps, aiming for one to two portions of vegetables per day, and you can gradually increase.
Lifestyle change is all about the long-run, so before making changes to your diet I recommend assessing your readiness to take action and your commitment to the long-term goals. If you don’t feel ready or committed, you may want to find ways to get your mindset on track first!”
To help start the journey, you can work with a nutritional therapist or health coach who can assess your readiness for change and devise a bespoke plan to help you create lasting, positive changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Inder Singh Virdi, Windsor https://theneuropath.com/