Many of us are familiar with the old adage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’. There’s a modicum of truth in this expression, and many a parent has uttered it as one reason mustered to encourage their children to opt for fresh fruit in the place of artificial, manufactured so-called foods. In our 2023 Australian context, there is no shortage of advice, now far more rigorously research-based and persuasive than ‘Eating your crusts will make your hair curl’ and ‘Spinach will make you strong like Popeye’, ‘Eating carrots helps us see in the dark’, ‘Drinking milk will turn you into a superhero’, ‘Eating green beans will make you taller’ or that ‘Sultanas are a new type of lolly’.
Diet in Relation to Wellbeing
This week was National Nutrition Week, October 2023. We are all conscious that we should try to eat nutritional food, though we are often unaware of exactly why this is the case and its impact on our wellbeing. The Australian Department of Health website explains this.
Good nutrition –
- Contributes to quality of life.
- Helps maintain healthy body weight, reducing the risk of overweight and obesity
- Protects against infection.
- Reduces the risk of disease and chronic conditions, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer.
- Reduces the risk of premature death.
These reasons are certainly compelling.
Links Between What We Eat and How We Feel
Experts at Headspace, such as Professor Felice Jacka, Director of the Food and Mood Centre, draw strong links between what we eat and how we feel. She also provides tips on how to eat for a healthier headspace Eating well for a healthy headspace Oct 2023. Beyond Blue also provides information on routines and mental health (Beyond Blue Routines and Mental Health) in addition to ways to develop and maintain healthy routines. There is clear alignment here with the Visible Wellbeing ‘habits and goals’ pathway in the S.E.A.R.C.H. model. More tips on how to maintain sound eating habits and routines that recognise cost is a factor can be found here: Harvard Health Publishing Oct 2023
Nutritional Educational at ISWA
At ISWA, we strive to educate about and model, healthy nutrition. In similar ways to its two allies, sleep and exercise, nutrition is inextricably linked to the ability to think, concentrate, remember and navigate daily challenges. Although it can be tricky to persuade young people to invest in their health so that they don’t fall prey to chronic diseases or impact their lifestyles deleteriously in the future, we are conscious of our obligations in this area. Encouraging students to fuel themselves with an array of appealing, nutrient-dense foods so they can ward off stress, be strong, resilient and glow with the attractiveness which results from having a robustly healthy body is a common goal. Recent research by W.H.O. on adolescent health and wellbeing (WHO Updated Guidance on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Oct 2023) reveals that ‘Adolescent wellbeing depends on a range of factors, including healthy food, education, life skills and employability, connectedness, feeling valued by society, safe and supportive environments, resilience, and the freedom to make choices.
Valuable Links and Resources
Here are more valuable resources –
- Healthy Eating Hacks Oct 2023 video 11 mins
- What happens when you start eating healthily video Oct 2023
- Heart Foundation Oct 2023
- Vegetables Tips to Encourage your Child to Eat More Oct 2023
- Dietician Australia Mental Health Including anxiety and depression Oct 2023
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Oct 2023
May you eat well!