When you’re grieving, it often feels like there isn’t much that would help you feel better. While comfort food may seem like the right answer, you may actually be lengthening your grief by not taking care of your body. Below we’ll discuss the advantages to healthy nutrition and some tips to help you on your way.
We all have high goals for ourselves: eating more fruits, vegetables, and protein and cutting down on fat, sugar and processed products. It’s good to remember, especially while grieving that the food that we put into our bodies is the fuel that it runs on. If we put low-grade fuel into an expensive car, it will eventually show! Obviously, the fuel we eat affects our mental health as well as our physical health. Studies have shown that comparing a typical Western Diet to a “traditional” Mediterranean or Japanese diet, those who have a “traditional” diet have a 25% - 35% lower risk for depression than their Western counterparts. Now that is compelling evidence!
A great way to start eating better is to pay attention to how eating different foods makes you feel — not just at the moment, but the next day too. Then start a “clean” diet for two to three weeks, cutting out all processed foods and sugar. You will be amazed at how your body reacts. Once you’ve been clean eating for a few weeks, start re-introducing food back into your diet slowly to see how it affects you. That way you can see which food makes you feel good and which food makes you feel sluggish and adds to your grief.
To really boost your healthy eating, add fermented foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, or kombucha. You could also consider going dairy-free or grain-free and see how your body feels.
If you know someone who is grieving, invite them over and make a healthy meal for them. Share some of the insights you’ve learned in a caring way and let them know you are a resource for them any time they need you.
Most of us know that we should be drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day (which is about 2 liters). This prevents dehydration, which if untreated can lead to fatigue, difficulty concentrating and mood changes. These alone are good reasons to stay hydrated. Water can, in fact, make your mind feel good. If you are grieving, anything you can do to help your mind feel better is a benefit.
Water consumption has also been associated with a number of other benefits, such as improved memory, reduced stress, improved cognitive capacity, and better sleep. Research even shows that it can aid in weight loss. What more reason do you need!
Find a glass or aluminum water bottle that you like and bring it with you: to work, to school, to the gym, anywhere! By keeping the water bottle around you for the majority of the day, you will be reminded to stay hydrated!
Put down the coffee and grab a water bottle instead! The benefits of water far outweigh the benefits of any other drink out there. And if you’re really craving caffeine, try tea instead!
The fuel we put into our bodies is a powerful thing. Do your best to help your healing along by using some of these tips today! What other ways have you used nutrition to help you feel better? Make sure to share your thoughts with us and others!