Today Liz Pearson came to Columbia International College (CIC) to speak to students about the relationship of food with mental health, explaining how eating a balanced meal can provide optimal happiness and well-being.
For over 25 years, Liz Pearson has been researching, speaking and writing about nutrition and providing insightful lessons about eating healthy. As a registered dietitian, Pearson offers incredible knowledge on the correlation of healthy foods and your mental health.
She is the best-selling author of:
During the presentation, Pearson dived into an array of food topics explaining each food group and the benefits of each one. From speaking about vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes and more, Pearson emphasized her knowledge with research and case studies. There is a vast amount of research showing the link between eating balanced meals benefiting your mental health and in turn providing you with happiness.
It was evident in the research that when eating more balanced meals, the body was able to perform better and impacted brain health greatly. Pearson discusses limiting or avoiding ultra-processed foods including fast foods. According to the World Health Organization, people whose diets are high in sodium (including salt) have a greater risk of high blood pressure which can increase their risk of heart disease and stroke. Similarly, those whose consumed foods with high in sugars have a greater risk of becoming overweight or obese, and an increased risk of tooth decay.
Pearson advocates the importance of reducing sugars in your diet. She explained that many advertisements will link products to your happiness and having a happy life. This can cause you to buy things in the hope of finding fulfillment and happiness. For instance, the Center for Science in The Public Interest built a Happiness Stand to show people the truth about soda. They explained, “It isn’t happiness. It’s just sugar, water and a billion dollars in advertising.”
The Takeaway from Liz Pearson’s Presentation
- Enjoy a well-balanced, Mediterranean-type diet
- Eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, including plenty of berries and dark leafy greens (aiming for at least 7 to 8 servings daily)
- Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber daily
- Eating beans daily or every other day
- Choosing 100% whole grain breads, cereals and pasta
- Eat whole fruits and vegetables (with the skin on)
- Eat a small handful of nuts/seeds daily
- Consumer fermented foods on a regular basis (Examples: Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, komucha)
- Eat two servings of higher fat fish each week (Examples: Salmon or rainbow trout)
- Drink 6 to 8 cups of water daily
Foods to avoid:
- Ultra-processed foods, including fast food
- Foods high in added sugar, including sugary drinks (Aim for not more than 6 tsp/day)
- Refined grains like white bread and white rice
- Foods high in saturated fats, including higher fat cuts of red meat, processed meats and butter
- Foods containing artificial sweeteners
For more information about balanced meals, students can approach any of the Chartwells Chefs on campus or visit Shannon Simpson in the gymnasium in the Ainsliewood Building. Click the link here to access the Canada’s Food Guide.
To read more about CIC’s dining services you can click here: Dining Booklet