Food, mood and anxiety with Ben Warren

Nutrient deficiencies could be contributing to our mental health crisis, according to clinical nutritionist Ben Warren.

Embarking on his latest New Zealand tour, Ben Warren is currently travelling across the country, sharing his insights with the nation on the crucial role nutrients can play in our mental wellness.

“A growing body of strong research suggests that diet, lifestyle and nutrition should be considered a mainstream approach in supporting mental health,” says BePure founder and leading Clinical Nutritionist Ben Warren.

What we eat, how our digestion is working and nutrient deficiencies are not often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of our mental health, but all could be contributing to anxiety, low mood and depression.

Whether it be ourselves, or someone we love, the statistics in New Zealand are staggering and tell us just how much we are all impacted by mental health concerns.

Today, mental disorders as a group are the third-leading cause of health loss for New Zealanders, with measures of health loss including risk of illness, disability, and early death. With one in six New Zealanders, at some point in their lifetime, experiencing a serious mood disorder such as anxiety or depression, it really is time we came together to support the mental wellness of our nation.

While it’s hard to know for sure what is really driving anxiety and low mood, there is emerging and compelling evidence to suggest that nutrient deficiencies may be playing a significant role.

“When it comes to mental health, we need to go back to a systems biology approach, and address the underlying dysfunctions of the system as a whole,” says Warren. “Micronutrients are the foundation in which our systems are built. Mental health is a complex interplay of many aspects of our body’s physiology and micronutrients are essential to many of these aspects. The building and clearance of our neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that tell our cells what to do that control how we think and feel) are dependent on these micronutrients.”

In a nutshell, we’re depleted of nutrients in the modern world. Our food choices are no longer like those of our ancestors. We’re overfed and undernourished. Modern farming practices are also stripping our soils of nutrients, and if the nutrients aren’t in the soils, how can they be in our food? On top of this, we’re experiencing increased levels of stress, which uses up our nutrients faster, as our body prioritises short-term survival over long-term health. “Unfortunately for many people in the modern world, I believe all of this means we simply don’t have the nutrients we need to feel good,” he says.

Dedicated to supporting New Zealanders to understand their mind-body connection, Warren says, “It’s important that we understand how the foods we eat impact how we think and feel. When we understand how the foods we eat impact not only our body, but also our mind, we can make choices that will fill us with energy for life. I’m excited to share how eating the right food and supplying enough nutrients to our body can support people’s quality of life.”

Warren has spoken to more than 60,000 people on the science behind nutrition and holistic health across his 15 years as a clinical nutritionist. He is currently completing his Ph.D. on the relationship between nutrition, metabolomics and mental health at Canterbury University under Professor Julia Rucklidge, a world-renowned mental health researcher and clinical psychologist.

Food, Mood & Anxiety tour dates:

Palmerston North, Elwood Room, Conference & Function Centre – March 28

Cambridge, Cambridge Town Hall – April 3

Tauranga, ASB Arena, Bay Park – April 4

Orewa, Orewa Arts & Events Theatre – April 16

Auckland North Shore, Lecture Theatre AF144 – AUT North Shore Campus – April 17

Dunedin, Hutton Theatre – Otago Museum – April 30

Invercargill, Corinthian Convention Centre – May 1

Queenstown, Copthorne Hotel – May 2

Auckland Central, Newmarket Room, Ellerslie Convention Centre – May 8

Wellington, Renouf Foyer at the Michael Fowler Centre – May 9

Christchurch, The Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College – May 15

Nelson, Rutherford Hotel Nelson – May 16

Whangarei, Forum North Cafler Suite – May 21

Kerikeri, Turner Center – May 22

Tickets on sale now – available at bepure.co.nz/events

Good readers will receive $10 off seminar tickets to any locations around New Zealand by using the discount code GOOD.

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