In one sense we use our food intake to regulate our daily lives, dividing the day up into breakfast, lunch and dinner. In another very real sense we use food to regulate how we feel. But in every sense food has a significant affect on our health and the more healthy our diets are, the easier our bodies deal with injury.,
A recent study showed that older Australians who have an unhealthy diet have smaller brains (ABC news 11 September 2015)
“The hippocampus is absolutely central to learning and memory,” said Associate Professor Felice Jacka, from Deakin University.
“Basically your hippocampus gets smaller as you age, and the difference we found between people with good diets and people with poor diets in terms of their left hippocampal volume, it counted for about 60 per cent of that aged-related decline. So it’s a not insubstantial amount.” (from ABC news)
This area of the brain (colloquially known as the monkey brain) regulates a lot of our bodies functioning. Though it is true that it declines as we age, it was previously not known that diet affected that deterioration.
The hippocampus also plays an important part in how we feel, our activity levels and our will in moving our bodies. If we can do anything to help our brain recover then it has to be a good thing.
Unfortunately junk food, and in particular the feeling of “full” we have after eating it, also sends some welcome relief chemicals to the rest of our brain. This has as much to do with the fat and sugars within the food as it has to do with that full feeling we crave when we are feeling down.
The battle is always to replace those fatty foods with foods that can and do have a similar affect on our emotions.
There are some foods that have this affect, avocados and nuts can provide that full feeling without the similar negative side effects of junk food. Fruit (in particular oranges) contain some of the sugars we also crave with junk food. The super food in all of this is the banana with both the full feeling and the sugars we crave.
Reality is though if you eat a healthy diet you will train your body to see that food as just as good at helping you emotionally as the junk food. you will also give your body the nutrients it needs to make you feel like you want to move your body more, and for overcoming any negative feeling associated with an injury, exercise is the best medicine.