National Nutrition Week | Oct 11-17

By TDHS Dietitian, Emily Boyle

Try for 5 is an annual nutrition campaign run by Nutrition Australia that encourages all Australians to increase their vegetable intake to the recommended five serves per day.

The campaign runs each October during National Nutrition Week.

In Australia only 4% of adults are eating the recommended 5 serves a day.

At this time, it is even more important to make sure we are looking after both our physical and mental wellbeing. During the Coronavirus pandemic we are preparing and eating meals at home more than ever. So, what a great time to let your food inspire you and to Try For 5 serves of vegetables a day.

Follow the link to find your veg inspiration today, with several recipes and resources provided by Nutrition Australia:

We all know that vegetables are great for us. They are full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. Increasing our vegetable intake across the day is one of the easiest things to do to improve our health and wellbeing.

But did you know that the foods you eat can also affect the way that you feel?

The strong connection between the foods we eat, and our mental health has been a topic that’s starting to receive some very well-deserved attention lately. What we eat can play a huge role in how we feel, but how we feel can also determine the foods we eat – as we’re much more likely to follow a healthy diet when we’re in a positive mind set.

Improving our diet can help to:

  • Improve your mood
  • Provide you with more energy across the day
  • Help you think more clearly
  • Stress management
  • Improve our sleep quality

Strategies to improve your mental health through nutrition:

1. Protect your gut health

A healthy gut (diverse gut microbiota) has been found to be associated with reduced inflammation – a risk factor for mental health disorders. A fibre rich, wholefood diet such as a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, foods high in fibre such as wholegrain breads and cereals, chickpeas, lentils, and healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado are all great food sources to maintain a healthy gut and therefore support your mental health.

2. Keep your blood sugar levels stable

We all know the feeling of intense irritability when we’ve missed a meal or gone too long without eating. When we don’t eat regularly throughout the day, our blood sugar levels drop, leaving us feeling irritable and tired. Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day, with good quality carbohydrates such as wholegrain breads, oats, potatoes, brown rice and pasta will assist in keeping your blood sugar levels stable across the day and prevent that “hangry” feeling.

3. Eat your Omega-3s

Omega-3 fats are important for brain function, and as such can impact on our mental health. There is emerging evidence suggesting that omega-3 fats may benefit those with depression, and can potentially reduce inflammation – which as mentioned, is a risk factor for mental health disorders. Omega 3’s are found in fatty fish, seafood, flaxseeds and walnuts. Try to aim to include oily fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel in your diet two to three times per week.

Community members can self-refer to our dietitian Emily by calling reception on 5558 6000 or access her services via referral from their GP.

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