For physical health and wellness, your diet greatly influences how you feel; that’s why people often have different moods after eating different foods. Your overall diet is extremely significant when it comes to your mental wellness, whether it is from the specific nutrients you are consuming or your broader relationship with food. In honor of SPILL’s Wellness Week, which is taking place all of third week, this article demonstrates some interesting ideas about food and wellness, so you can power up with food for thought.

We all know that food is much more than what is on the dinner table. Humans have a relationship with the food that we eat, whether it is knowing what foods please our senses, or the culture and people that surround the food we are eating. Many have found that contributing to the local food movement aids their mental wellness by creating a sense of community around the food that we eat. Gardening and growing food has been known to contribute to happiness. From working in the sun to enjoying the fruits of your labor, eating a tomato fresh off the vine provides a sense of satisfaction.

While gardening is not for everyone, spending a little more time to prepare a meal rather than opening and microwaving a package can offer another sense of fulfillment. Spending time in the kitchen in order to know how a meal was prepared and where it came from can foster a sense of appreciation for the food you are eating. Taking the time to slow down and enjoy the food that you are eating can bestow a sense of joy that is otherwise not found when eating mindlessly. As Wendell Berry graciously said, “A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes.” While we are not all farmers or gardeners, spending a little more time to prepare and appreciate what we eat can bring us into this realm.

If these concepts of food appreciation and slow food are too philosophical for you, there are specific foods that can give your brain a boost. Dark leafy greens are not only healthy for your physical wellness (and in season year-round), but they can also affect your brain; because they contains a high amount of folic acid, leaves like spinach have been proven to ease feelings of depression as well as reduce fatigue. Additionally, spinach is high in potassium, so it’s known to boost brain function by producing extremely fast signals between neurons that facilitate us to think and respond more quickly.

Want to learn or discuss more about how you are what you eat? SPILL is hosting Wellness Week next week, where the CC Farm and other organizations will promote how food is significant when it comes to your mental health. On Monday, in Perkins Lounge from 5-7 p.m., there will be a “Mocktail Monday” event where various leaders and members of wellness-oriented groups will discuss all things wellness, food included. As Wellness Week approaches, remember to slow down and take a step back at your next meal. Remember, you are what you eat.

Mel Yemma

Staff Writer

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