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There is an old Spanish proverb “The belly rules the mind” which is indeed true. Food, not only has a significant impact on the physical body and overall health but also on our day to day thinking, decision making, and the entire mental health as well. This saying has been prevalent among various faiths and belief systems from the ancient time. Science has proved in recent times in various researched-based studies.
According to the widely practised Yogic and Ayurvedic literature, everything that is matter arises from a fundamental source called Prakriti (meaning Mother Nature). So, the three primary Gunas (qualities) arises from Mother Nature. The three primary Gunas which are present in all objects and beings surrounding us are – Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. We, human unlike other beings or objects can choose the level of the three qualities in our individual lives and minds depending upon our choices of food, lifestyle and the kind of thoughts we like to cultivate. Our wellbeing and health mainly depend on these preferences. The three states are relative, and keep changing during our day to day life depending on our food choices and lifestyle preferences. Therefore, the three states are:
Satva: It is a state of beingness, in balance, in harmony and a favourable condition. For these qualities to nurture, we need to adapt to the food, that comes directly from Mother Nature. The food that comes from the soil and not from factories. To maintain calmness of mind, we have to adopt and practise Yoga, meditation regularly, which keep the mind stable and peaceful. Such a state is an ideal state of health and wellbeing free from diseases.
Rajas: This is the state of mind related to desires, passion, longing and attachment to worldly pleasures, excessive material goods, excessive work, excessive exercising and even extreme thinking. When we have this state of mind, there is craving for fried, spicy food and stimulants like alcohol, smoking and all sorts of other stimulants.
Tamas: This state of mind is darkness, ignorance and passive.
It is the most unproductive state of mind. Such a state mainly attracts overeating, oversleeping, passive state, fearful state. This state of mind mostly attracts fatty meat, processed and refined food.
So, the kind of food, we have on our plate, that we consume every day, or with each meal determines the state of mind, thought process, our prospects of the world, people around us. Therefore, in yogic practises, the ultimate goal is to cultivate the practice of Satva, adopt Satvic food to be close to our Creator, our beingness, our most authentic self.
Not just mentioned in ancient literature, food impact on both physical and mental health have been studied in several research-based projects all over the world in recent times. For decades, we have been surrounded by sugary, refined, processed and fatty foods, which are like impossible to avoid. Because of their easy accessibility, binging on this kind of foods has made it difficult for the body to deal with them. Apart from causing multiple physical health issues, including lifestyle diseases and obesity, they are grievous for our mental health and brain too. Researches have found out; junk foods are not only killing our health but also causes the shrinking of our brain. The primary functions of the brain being the cognitive functions, the ability to think, perform challenging tasks have found to impact the wrong kind of nutrition. Such a diet is found to have a long term effect on normal brain activities and memory. Habitual intake of such foods changes and alter the programming of the brain.
An Australian study found that not just in the adults and adolescence. Still, pregnant women, too who fed on junk foods, gave birth to children who were more aggressive, fearful, throw tantrums and has less tolerable personality. Without Omega 3 fatty acids, and other nutrients dense food, the brain does not develop naturally.Some more information on Omega three fatty acids https://healthhappinesshealing.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=3844&action=edit
So to conclude, the impact of nutrition in the overall health is wholesome. Not just the diseases but also chronic health issues like autoimmune diseases, obesity, heart diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cancers, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid issues can be controlled and well managed by changing the diet and lifestyle. Even the impact of nutrition on mental health has been immense. So, with proper diet and lifestyle changes, depression, mood disorders and day to day cognitive functions thought process, task performance, agility, tolerance, decision-making skills could all be improved.
Thanks for reading.
Blessings and much love to all 💐