During the holiday season, we are presented with a myriad of tempting foods, many of which are unhealthy and can deplete our energy. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that good nutrition, along with plenty of sleep and good exercise, provide fuel that promotes your health, mood, and mindful productivity at work. We have known for years that there is a direct relationship between nutrition and our physical health. Scientists, for example, they have found that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risks of cardiovascular disease. Research it also shows that there is a direct link between our eating patterns and mental health. The study authors state, “The results of this trial suggest that improving nutrition in line with current recommendations targeting depression may be a useful and affordable strategy for treating depression in both the general population and clinical settings.” .
“The connection between food and mood is becoming not only better known, but also more well researched,” according to Dr Teralyn Sell, psychotherapist and brain health expert, “It’s no secret that inflammatory foods like sugar have played a key role in physical health, and now we’ve made the connection to mental health as well. Neurotransmitter pathways (brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin) rely on a variety of nutrients to create transmission. You are what you eat is a catchy saying, but it’s true. Your mood is based on your food.”
Brain-healthy foods boost your mood, health and work performance. Pay attention to the food on your plate and ask if it promotes overall brain health. Protein—like meats, poultry, dairy, cheese, and eggs—gives your brain the amino acids it needs to build neurotransmitter pathways. In addition, it stabilizes blood sugar. Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines help your brain with mood. Vitamin B is essential for brain health and can be found in eggs, whole grains, fish, avocados and citrus fruits. And vitamin D – found in dairy products, beef liver, orange juice or egg yolks – is an important mood stabilizer.
But naming the healthiest diet is controversial, according to Chris Mirabile, founder and CEO of NOVOS. “Proponents of every diet, be it vegan, keto, paleo, pescatarian, Ornish, or others—all claim to know the secret to superior health, with weight loss as an added bonus—and each has a handful of studies to point to in order to to substantiate their claims”.
Mirabile states that the average person will try as many as 126 diets in their lifetime, many right after a holiday binge. However, he recognizes that one diet stands out from the rest in terms of evidence for short- and long-term biomarkers and outcomes: the Mediterranean diet. “Not only is this diet the foundation of some of the longest-lived centenarians (100-109 years) and supercentenarians (110+) in areas known as the ‘Blue Zones’, including Ikaria, Greece, and Sardinia, Italy,” he explains. . “It may also reduce the risk of heart disease, the risk of stroke in women, help with weight loss and maintenance, improve blood sugar control, prevent type two diabetes, improve arthritis symptoms, protect against certain types of cancer, prevent depression and may even prevent cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease.”
But Mirabile told me via email that a new diet has made upgrades to the popular Mediterranean diet. Known as the NOVOS Longevity Diet, says it extends human lifespan and helps you stay younger and healthier for longer. While the Mediterranean diet overemphasizes grains and allows for the possibility of nutrient deficiencies, the NOVOS Longevity Diet uses six rules to modify the Mediterranean diet:
- Vegetables: Vegetables are the foundation of the longevity diet, legumes, mushrooms, quinoa and oatmeal are a healthy addition.
- Carbohydrates: Replace bread, potatoes, pasta and rice with the above.
- Meat: Eat little or no red meat and replace it with fatty fish, lean poultry, tofu, whole eggs or mushroom-based meat substitutes.
- Drinks: Drink 0.5 to 1.0 ounces per day, mostly water, a few cups of tea (green, white, chamomile, etc.) and a glass of freshly squeezed, high-fiber, low-sugar fruit juice. Coffee is healthy in moderation. Alcohol: maximum one drink per day, include alcohol-free days.
- Dairy: Replace dairy with plant alternatives. Cheese and yogurt are allowed in moderation.
- Supplements: Get smart health supplements and smart longevity supplements that focus on longevity. Supplementing with essential vitamins and minerals is a 21st century NOVOS Longevity Diet upgrade to the traditional Mediterranean Diet.
Many of us put work duties ahead of our mental and physical health. This affects our health, productivity and longevity. The human body is not designed to be desk bound or on red alert 24/7. Nor does it work with poor nutrition, mindless eating when we “grab, swallow and go.” Having the right amount of good energy and fuel in our body makes us feel good mentally and physically and contributes to our productivity and career. And finding the right healthy diet can even add years to our lives.
Whatever you do, avoid suddenly reversing your eating habits. Introduce healthier foods slowly to increase your chances of success. Take it one meal at a time, replacing unhealthy foods with more nutritious options, such as serving grilled chicken instead of fried chicken. Set limits on when you eat, just three set meal times a day, and stick to them. And finally, measure your appetite by the clock, not by your feelings after a long day at the office.