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Hokie Health: The positive impacts of good nutrition

From: Hokie Wellness

When most of us think of nutrition, we think about its connection to physical health. However, what we eat also plays an important role in our mental and emotional well-being.

The gastrointestinal system is intricately connected with chemical messengers (also called neurotransmitters), such as serotonin and dopamine, that carry information from the gut to the brain. Fueling the body with nutrient-dense foods encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, ultimately supporting the function of these chemical messengers. Conversely, an eating pattern that predominately relies on foods with few beneficial nutrients may hinder neurotransmitter function and negatively impact mood and focus.

There are many foods that provide nutrients to support the brain-gut connection, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, fermented foods, beans, legumes, and lean proteins.

When we are physically well, we feel better mentally and emotionally, and vice versa. Hokie Wellness offers opportunities for employees to learn more about how to take care of your whole health – mental, emotional, and physical.

With the wealth of nutrition information available on the internet, it can sometimes be challenging to separate nutrition myths from facts. Virginia Tech dietetic intern, Kamryn Zimmer, will host a virtual “Nutrition Myths and Tips” lunch and learn on Thursday, April 22, from 12-1 p.m.  Participants will learn about common nutrition myths as well as practical advice for making everyday meals more nutritious. Registration is required. A Zoom link will be sent to participants 1-2 days prior to the program.

Visit the Employee Wellness at Home site for more information on virtual workshops, connection sessions, and other wellness resources offered. Learn more about how we can be Better Together at Virginia Tech.

Hokie Wellness serves Virginia Tech to foster a healthier community by providing prevention services, education, outreach, and resources to employees and students. If you have questions, need help, or would like to join the Hokie Wellness Google Group to stay up to date with monthly updates, contact the team at hokiewellness@vt.edu.