“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates

These past few years, we have all been emotionally tossed to and fro like ocean waves, and thus have experienced mental instability in one way or another. For others, it might have been the loss of loved ones, colleagues, patients or even jobs.

This highly stressful and mentally challenging period brought about a dramatic change in personal habits with food being used as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, as many people indulge in stress eating, so has the rise in lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases.

Your health is your greatest treasure and your food choice and healthy lifestyle are your greatest weapon to safely guard this treasure .  The truth is, what you ingest and introduce into your body will either build you or kill you. Whether you choose to nourish your mind and body with life-changing food or not, you have made a choice.

The connection between food choices and mental health cannot be overemphasised. Not only can healthy food choices change your mental well-being, but they can offer you a prolonged, fruitful and healthy life in the long term. Below is the list of food and healthy life choices you can make that have been scientifically proven to boost mental health and overall physical well-being.

#Choose Water Over fizzy drinks

My inquisitive 10-year-old daughter Cayley came home one day after school and told me a story of her friend who recently lost a sibling through drowning. She went on to tell me how she finds the relationship between humans and water fascinating – “without water men cannot survive. Though humans are 60 per cent water, but inside water they can drown and die. Though humans need water to survive daily, they discover new ways to avoid drinking water” 😊What kind of love is this?

Water plays a vital role in the human body and among those rehydration of the brain, joints and spinal cord for flexible movements etc.

Daily fizzy drinks are filled with additives and short-lived caffeine content, high sugar content which in turn lead to a disruptive and short-lived life filled with chronic illnesses and poor mental well-being.

Choose water for it is cost-effective and daily saves lives.

#Choose Healthy fat over bad fat

Over the years, I have been privileged to assist obese women to lose weight, and one thing they all have in common is unhappiness;

  • unhappy about their current weight status
  • unhappy about their food choices which are vastly made up of fatty foods and carbohydrates
  • unhappy about the seemingly small health decisions they made along the way to get where they are today.
  • They are unhappy with their lives in general, as it has now become a series of visits to healthcare facilities.

Unfortunately, fat plays an important role to ensure optimal body function, however, bad fat also known as saturated fat is one of the leading causes of cardiac diseases in the world today. Below is the choice of good and healthy fats  you can introduce into your life to start making better choices:

  • Choose fish over steak

Omega 3 is found in fish which helps with blood circulation, brain function and fat digestion.

  • Choose traditional chicken (Umleqwa) over fried takeaway choices. Umleqwa contains little or no saturated fat”
  • Choose to grill over frying and stew

Cooking oil is expensive😉, so is electricity. Choose wisely.

#Choose walking over car rides, elevators and sitting for longer periods

  • Take one step at a time and these would build up into calories burnt

Walking encourages blood circulation and helps prevent cramping, poor flexibility of bones and arthritis

  • Those small daily health choices lead to habits and thus avoiding chronic illnesses like HPT, obesity and cardiac problems.

#Make your health your priority

  • Make a conscious decision daily to be more friendly to your body as it is your greatest wealth. simple things like walking, rehydrating, and brushing your teeth twice daily can you save on doctor’s appointments.
  • Do regular health screenings especially if there is a family history of any chronic illnesses:

-Yearly pap smear for women and prostate check for men

-Do 3 monthly health screenings:  blood pressure and glucose check

  • Smile more often it’s not only good for your facial muscles to keep you looking young, but it is also good for your soul
  • Find time to rest and avoid stressors and choose to not let other people influence your happiness.
  • And remember to visit your Pharmacist as often as you can for healthy chats😊