The Impact of Diet and Nutrition on Relationships
Dr. Keith Kantor was recently asked the following questions by Enliven Magazine. This is a preview to an article that will be featured in their magazine.
1. How can eating and diet affect relationships?
Our diets are a huge part of our life, if two people are not on the same page with their diet they will run into many hurdles throughout the relationship. Planning meals, choosing restaurants, and of course grocery shopping and food budget will most likely be the major issues from a social and financial perspective. More importantly eating a diet rich in processed foods including excessive sugar and poor fats will not only make one gain weight which will affect their overall confidence and self-esteem in their relationship. A poor diet will also have a negative impact on their overall mood, energy and lifestyle due to poor glucose control and hormone levels resulting in energy crashes throughout the day. Two people do not need to live identical lifestyles but sitting down and discussing short and long term health goals periodically is a healthy way to ask for support from your spouse and come up with a mutual plan together that will help you reach your health goals.
2. What part does one's spouse play in their overall health?
A spouse plays a huge role in overall health, simply because spouses typically eat together, share a fridge and pantry and are also effected by each other’s exercise habits. If one spouse is extremely active, regularly eating healthy and of ideal body weight while the other spouse is unmotivated and struggles with their weight this could stir up feelings of resentment, jealously and could create a divide between the couple. There is typically one spouse who is more fanatical about nutrition and fitness, it is important for that spouse to realize that they should not gloat or put themselves on a pedestal simply because their priorities are not the same. Instead this spouse should focus on being a good example to their family by preparing healthy meals and exercising regularly without coming off as a drill sergeant or “know it all.”
3. Are there specific foods that affect our moods that affect relationships negatively?
Processed foods packed full of sugar, Trans fats (hydrogenated oils), sodium, dyes, and preservatives are going to have the most negative effect on our moods and weight. Processed foods rich in fat, sugar and salt boost our good mood hormone serotonin, causing us to eat too much and crave more. A boost in serotonin is similar to a “high” that you get from recreational drugs, this is why health experts are saying that processed foods are just as addictive as recreational drugs. Consuming processed foods regularly will result in weight gain and poor self-image and those negative emotions will trickle into relationships. If you feel like you are addicted to processed foods, find more healthy ways to boost serotonin levels like exercise, meditation, or even more sex J.
4. Are there foods that can positively affect our relationships?
A diet rich in chemically pure all natural and organic vegetables, some fruits, healthy fats and protein will promote optimal metabolism and blood sugars resulting in steady energy levels, hormone levels, ideal weight and brain function. The above foods are considered to be anti-inflammatory which will not raise up the stress hormone cortisol levels. High cortisol levels result in excess belly fat and poor sleep, striving for ideal cortisol levels will result in better sleep quality and overall metabolism. If your hormones are balanced and are getting quality sleep from eating healthy you will most likely treat your loved ones with more patience and be able to give them more of your energy.
5. Is it possible to be in relationship with others who do not eat healthy?
Yes, but it will require you to have more self- discipline with your meal planning, eating out options and grocery shopping. Hopefully the unhealthy partner will eventually come around by watching you as an example of positively changing your lifestyle.
6. Do the foods that we eat affect us differently in terms of men and women that could ultimately affect our behavior towards one another?
There are some minor differences but in general, the main difference between how food effects men and women is the sex hormone response. Men who carry excess belly fat and eat a diet rich in processed foods typically have lower testosterone levels and are more estrogen dominant resulting in decreased sex drive and high body fat levels. The following foods contain zinc, vitamin D and healthy fats which all boost testosterone levels naturally:
- Shiitake and Button Mushrooms
- Sockeye Salmon
- Olives and olive oil
- Raw Pecans
Women who carry excess fat in their thighs and back of their arms are typically estrogen dominant and progesterone deficient which also results in decreased sex drive and high body fat percentage. The following foods are high in vitamin B6 which naturally boost progesterone levels in women:
- Lean red meat
Both men and women can strive for optimal sex hormone levels by eating a diet rich in chemically pure, all natural/organic vegetables (cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts will naturally detoxify harmful levels of estrogen), some fruit, healthy fats and protein. Limiting excessive carbohydrate consumption through grains, sugars and starch will keep insulin levels within normal range and this will also result in optimal sex hormone balance as well.
7. Can you provide a few meal samples for a balanced diet and relationship?
Daily Supplement Recommendations for optimal health-
Omega 3 fish oil – 1000-2000mg of DHA+EPA daily
High quality multi-vitamin/mineral
- Meal replacement shake- 1 scoop high quality protein powder (pea or rice or grass fed whey protein powder), 1 c frozen or fresh organic/all natural fruit, 2 Tbs. ground flax seed, unsweetened almond, rice or coconut milk
- Lettuce wraps: prepared all natural chicken salad (3-4oz all natural chicken grilled and chopped, olive oil based mayonnaise, chopped celery, purple grapes, and walnuts with herbs to taste). Over 4 large romaine or Boston lettuce cups
- 4-6oz all natural lean steak fillet, 2 c roasted asparagus (use olive oil and lemon), ½-1 c wild rice with herbs to taste
Be sure and order your copy of Dr. Kantor’s highly praised new book What Matters: Leadership Values that Just Might Save America. Proceeds from sales benefit the American Diabetes Foundation, the All-Natural Food Council of North America, the Natural Products Association.