Did you know that fewer than one in five British farmers eats a healthy diet despite producing some of the best food in the world, according to a survey carried out by Farmers Weekly
What we eat doesn’t just affect our physical health: it can also affect our mental health too.
But making sweeping changes to what you eat can be tough – especially if you’re struggling with your mental health. So, why not start with a few little changes rather than changing your diet completely.
We particularly love this #BackBritishFarming photo from the NFU’s annual campaign so what better image to use to promote healthy eating in our own industry? Eating a balanced diet with plenty vegetables and nutrients is scientifically proven to improve your sense of wellbeing and your mood.
Look, we don’t need to delve too deeply into the science as it’s complex but the gist is that research shows a link between what we eat and how we feel.
So, you can manage your MOOD with FOOD:
1. Eat regularly
If your blood sugar drops, you’ll start to feel tired, irritable and possibly depressed. So. eat regularly and choose foods that release energy slowly which will help to keep your sugar levels steady. These foods include pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread and cereals, nuts and seeds.
If you don’t drink enough fluid, you could have difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly and we all know that this can be dangerous, especially in our industry.
3. Take 5
Public Health England recommends eating 5 portions of vegetables and fruit every day as part of a healthy diet but in the Farmers Weekly survey only 18% of farmers and farmworkers claimed to eat those five portions every day. Realistically, it’s not that difficult to take 5 – they could be fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced so gimme 5!
4. Gut Instinct
Being stressed or anxious can make your gut slow down or speed up. So, trust your gut instinct and, as well as the fruits and veg, add some wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and other probiotics to your daily intake. Remember a healthy diet promotes a healthy gut, which communicates with the brain through what is known as the gut-brain axis. Healthy Gut = Healthy You!
5. Wake up to Caffeine
Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks, is a stimulant, which means it might give you a quick buzz, but then it could make you feel anxious and depressed, disturb your sleep or give you withdrawal symptoms if you cut it out suddenly. It’s not worth it!
6. Get the skinny on fats
There are good fats and bad fats and your brain actually does need fatty acids (omega-3 and -6) to keep it working well. So, don’t diss the fats, just eat the right ones.
Healthy fats can be found in oily fish, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs.
We know long working hours can be one of the reasons for our farmers having such a poor diet but you need to refuel too.
You’re great at looking after your land, your machinery and your livestock.
Isn’t it time you started looking after the farms’ biggest asset – YOU?
For more information about health eating visit Live Well – NHS (www.nhs.uk)