Nutrition and PTSD Recovery: Are You Eating Right? Part One

If you have ever had feelings of anger, anxiety or depression, you would understand how these feelings can impact your appetite… Perhaps you are feeling a little down in the dumps, or maybe it’s something more chronic – either way, we’re here to help you. Nutrition and PTSD Recovery are intrinsically linked through hormones and chemical reactions, but how? and are you eating right? Well, read on to find out!

Having negative emotions can influence you to eat less or more depending on the day and emotional intensity. Ask yourself, what are the results of this? If you binge or skip meals, does it make you feel better or worse?

Eating or skipping meals has repercussions that vary from emotional to mental or physical. This alone makes your nutritional intake very important when it comes to PTSD.

If you are looking to regain some self-regulatory control and balance, you must give your body and your most important resource, your brain, what it needs to function at its most optimal level.

Glucose: The Ultimate Brain Fuel

Commonly, people suffering from PTSD have affected appetites – more often than not, a reduction in appetite. In an attempt to gain control of the body, the sufferer may feel terrified and trapped within, they often restrict their food intake (often to the point of anorexia). This may help them to feel that they have control over a body that has experienced past traumas. Cutting down food intake becomes like a game; how long can you go without eating and still sustain livability?

Sufferers might even wait until they’re on the verge of passing before eating something small which, in turn, is done to make them feel safer, in more control. The greater the trauma and stress created for the body the more secure a sufferer feels with the knowledge they can handle this stress. It is a process that makes one feel they have a heightened level of control over their body, as well as their ability to handle greater trauma.

Allowing those feelings puts the body, and past trauma, into a state of control. However, if you eat less than 500 calories a day you can start to feel very uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. A lack of food intake can lead to a host of physic and mental deficiencies, including early osteoporosis, caused by a lack of nutrition in the body.

The major problem caused by nutrition habits and PTSD, however, doesn’t have much to do with your bones. It has more to do with the brain and the nutrition it requires to optimally function. The brain works on glucose, a simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and refined sugar. Your brain requires this sugar in order to create a sense of calm, make rational decisions and manage emotions.

The brain shuts down systems when it doesn’t have the fuel it requires to function properly. This can lead to poor decision making as well as affecting how you think and feel. By maintaining correct glucose levels through a healthy diet, you can help yourself towards the healing process in PTSD.

If you’d like to know more about Nutrition and PTSD Recovery, or to chat to a dietitian about how your eating patterns may be affecting your mental health – drop us a contact form now!

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