The other mind-body connection: Food and psychological health
For the past several decades, the term mind-body connection has been used to refer to the idea, familiar in both the world of alternative health care and the world of “positive thinking,” that our thoughts and emotions can exert a powerful effect on our physical health. I’ve personally verified and validated this to an extent in my own life by discovering that a proper regulation of inner states and outlooks, aided by much introspection, meditation, and other attentional/concentrative disciplines, undeniably contributes to better physical health. (One of the most interesting and preternaturally effective practices is simply to direct neutral awareness to the site of any pain or discomfort, and to feel it as deeply and fully as possible, searching out its inner “shape” and relaxing into it. But that’s another story.)
Thanks to my being saddled with reactive hypoglycemia, I’ve also had to become hyper-aware of the effects flowing in the opposite direction: the effects not of mind upon body but of body upon mind. Eating the wrong things, or the right things at the wrong time of day, can result in fairly catastrophic deteriorations of my inner state, both cognitively and emotionally.
Today a neat little article at Big Think focuses specifically on this issue (the effects of nutrition on the mind), and is well worth your time:
If you believe your emotions can affect your health, nutritionist-author Nora Gedgaudas would say you’ve got another thing coming. In her view, your emotions are largely a product of your health.
At the Ancestral Health Symposium this month at UCLA Gedgaudas spoke about “the myth of the ‘mind-body connection’ and how diet can powerfully impact mental health and cognitive performance” and she expanded on this in an interview with Age of Engagement. “Emotions are biochemical storms in the body and brain,” she says. “The healthier your biochemistry, of course, the better the emotional and also the cognitive forecast.” Psychological issues have physiological underpinnings, she says, not the other way around. Nor are they a result of outside issues.
But what if we have serious problems in life and they drag us down mentally? “What we choose to focus on is largely a product of biochemistry,” she says. “We see absolutely everything through this lens that is our blood sugar stability (…), our hormones and our neurotransmitters.”
Full story at Big Think.