Feed the body and mind

A message from your NC Wellness Watch Committee

Mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

An estimated 6.7 million Canadians suffer from mental illness at any given time. Last year alone, spending on mental-health services totaled $42.3 billion and the impact on the economy was even greater (Globe and Mail article, May 6, 2012). It has been shown that there is a correlation between mental health and nutrition.

We’ve begun to see a slight shift with schools banning pop and junk food machines, installing filtered water stations and cutting out candy and chips from school events, such as carnivals and festivals. We have shifted away from a diet based on a wide variety of whole foods to one that emphasizes foods that are more processed.

Eating Well magazine suggests you can add years to your life with these seven anti-aging foods: 

Olive Oil – Monounsaturated fats in olive oil are largely responsible for low rates of heart disease;

Yogurt – Rich in calcium, good bacteria helps maintain gut health, high protein in greek varieties;

Fish – Abundant source of omega 3 fats which help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries;

Chocolate – Helps maintain youthful blood vessels and lowers risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease and dementia;


Nuts – rich sources of unsaturated fats, concentrated source of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants;

Wine – Red, in moderation, contains resveratrol, which may activate genes that slow cellular aging;

Blueberries – Compounds in blueberries and other berries, mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage.

But what can you do, on a personal level? 

As with anything, it’s recommended you take baby steps.  If you drink pop or sugary drinks, replace them with water; eat fruits and veggies before you reach for the candy; look to replace ‘white’ foods with whole grain options…maybe just do one of these things every few weeks.  Keep healthy snacks at your desk and in your car so that you’re not tempted to pull over and order the fatty hamburger and fries.  Nuts are a great source of nutrients and very transportable. 

Stress and anxiety are likely to affect many of us, at one given time, and so arm your body with the tools it needs to handle those bumps in the road.

– Written by Monique Morin, Graduate Consultant in Co-op & Graduate Services on behalf of the Wellness Watch Committee.

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