Food and Mood; the story of an apple
Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Wow! I'm still grinning from ear to ear with gratitude and joy. Last weekend I joined a love- empowered team of wellness practitioners gathered for a women's retreat. I was invited to speak on nutrition and emotional wellness or food and mood.
Emotional health thrives on the synergistic goodness of whole foods. In a society where refined and processed foods abound the tendency is to be overfed and undernourished contributing to a host of health issues not the least of which are emotional imbalances. B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and other common deficiencies are linked to issues like anxiety, depression, and even eating disorders. While supplements have a place in restoring balance, they can also generate imbalances and pale in comparison to the beautiful design of whole foods to sustain and protect us long term.
The less refined and processed a food is the more it retains the variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and macronutrients we need to support good mental health. But there is more to the story than individual nutrients. The sum is more than its' parts. How these nutrients are packaged and interact helps deliver the life of the food to the life of our body.
Take the humble apple for example.
An apple comes with the enzymes necessary to help break down the apple into its molecular components. This saves the body having to do all the digestive work. Chewing an apple as opposed to drinking juice stimulates those digestive juices. Because of its fiber in combination with its phytonutrients a whole apple helps regulate blood sugars and lowers blood fats. Anyone else thinking of metabolic syndrome? This combo also has a positive effect on the good bacteria in the large intestine. The more we learn about those gut bacteria the more we learn they are critical to good health, including the two way communication of the gut -brain connection. The pectin in apples is chelating, helping to remove damaging metals from our body. An apple’s combination of anti-oxidants have even been shown to decrease risk of asthma and lung cancer. (Thanks to World's Healthiest Foods for their great info on apples and more)
Eat clean whole food. The pesticides and chemicals used on conventional apples place them #4 on the 2017 DIrty Dozen list from EWG ,so go organic. Apple juice is a refined food. Rather than balancing your blood sugar it will spike it. Many of the apple's benefits are void in this refined form. The glycemic Index/Glycemic load of a whole apple is 33/4 while the GI/GL of apple juice is 41/12. (note I prefer using glycemic load which takes into account fiber and portion count). Neither index take into account any other nutritional aspects of a food and should be used with caution.
Try organic apple slices with a tablespoon of clean almond butter sprinkled with Ceylon cinnamon for a great blood balancing, omega rich, filling small meal or snack. Perfect for the after school hungry hordes, or an easy breakfast.