How we feel psychologically affects what we eat, how it is digested, absorbed, and assimilated, and how the body uses it. In turn, our nutrition affects our psychological health.
People vary widely in their psychological composition, and so also in their nutritional requirements. Research has shown that serious psychological trauma can hugely increase the need for certain nutrients such as vitamins B and C, and that unless some of the resulting inner disturbance and conflict is resolved, this will continue indefinitely.
Diet, the mind, and the emotions have an interdependent relationship.
If the necessary nutrients are taken, this will aid enormously the ability to cope with and resolve conflict and stress. If not, nutritional deficiency will develop and considerably diminish vital energy and resilience to stress.
A healthy diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grains, should provide most of these nutrients. However, it is important to take extra, in the form of supplements, during times of stress. This could be a preventative measure, or as part of treatment for stress-related problems, such as tension, anxiety, depression, debility, or insomnia.
Reducing high fat consumption is another admonition which the nutritionist will give. Since fat increases the satiety value of foods, a high fat diet will often reduce the amounts of cereal grains, vegetables and fruits you consume. Instead of being the mainstay of the diet, these three are relegated to minor intake resulting in a diet which must lead to health problems. Fat should constitute approximately 20 to 25 percent of the diet with more being allowed in the cold climates and less in the temperate or tropical climates.
Bread is an excellent source of fibre, protein and B vitamins. It is best to eat wholemeal and whole-grain as it contains more fibre.
There are trained nutritional consultants who have either attended classes on campus or received their education on a monitored home study programme and have been certified as to their knowledge and are considered professionals in their field. There are also less qualified practitioners who have become enthusiastic about nutrition because of a personal experience and now want to share this with others. The non-professional often is not trained adequately to differentiate between nutritional problems and those problems that should be relegated to a more qualified practitioner of the healing arts. So the first piece of advice is to ensure yourself that the person with whom you are going to consult has the background in nutritional training and to be worthy of your trust.
In the first visit, the nutritionist will discuss your diet and general state of healthy with you, usually in an attempt to get a history of your food habits and your supplementation routine. In addition, you may have to fill out a form which is made up of known signs of nutrient deficiencies in order to determine whether you might have special needs for certain nutrients.
The various deficiency signs of two common nutrients - vitamin B-1 and potassium. One would imagine that one was looking at clear cut medical conditions and yet these signs are sometimes found in well respected nursing and research publications and are classified as nutrient deficiencies and not diseases. One would not necessarily expect a doctor to prescribe vitamin B-1 or potassium to treat the deficiency symptoms, but the truth may be that doctors really should consider using such physiological "medicine".
The concept of deficiencies in the diet was put into perspective by an article published in the United States which was entitled: Diet Falls Short. In a survey of diets it was found that:
This was the result of a massive survey of random citizens of the United States. Considered to be the wealthiest nation in the world with possibly the best supply of a variety of food stuffs, these results act as a warning to all who have subscribed to the myth that food can supply all our needs.
Unfortunately, the appearance of some foodstuffs is sometimes ranked higher than their nutritional content, which may not even be considered. Thus it becomes apparent that food supplementation is very important for people on poor diets, which are deficient in specific nutrients.
To compound this problem it appears that we are not only eating nutrient deficient diets but we are also in serious need of reconsidering the "recommended daily allowances" of many nutrients. Many research scientists now question the recommended daily requirements and state, for example, that vitamin E may help to prevent heart attacks but never at the present suggested daily amounts. This leads us to believe that the recommended intake of nutrients may be guided by the amount of necessary to avoid frank deficiency signs rather than what is needed to promote optimum nutrition.