The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs Thursday joined the Caribbean region in commemorating Caribbean Nutrition Day, observed June 01, and Nutrition Awareness Month throughout the month of June. Caribbean Nutrition Day began in 2004 by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) – a specialized Centre of the Pan American Health Organization, as a day to highlight the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.
The annual observance seeks to increase knowledge and create awareness of nutrition-related topics and issues surrounding diet, nutrition and physical activity, with the expected outcome of positive lifestyle behavioral changes within the populace.
The 2023 theme for Caribbean Nutrition Day and Nutrition Awareness Month is, “Nourish to Flourish: Mental Health Matters”. The theme draws attention to the effect of nutrition and physical activity on mental health.
“There is a link between nutrition and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, mood and others. Good nutrition not only helps us to look and feel good it also significantly improves mental health. A well balanced diet helps one to think better, improves memory and attention span. For optimal mental health, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, provisions, nuts, seeds, legumes and some fish. Physical activity or exercise is also important for good mental health. It helps you to feel good, be more alert, reduces stress, anxiety and depression, improves concentration, and self-esteem,” said Lisa Hunt, Chief Nutritionist at the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs.
Miss Hunt encourages the citizens of Saint Lucia to be more physically active and eat well. “Eat more home- grown foods and less processed foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat, Trans fat, and salt. Processed foods contribute largely to poor mental health and should be limited as much as possible. Protect your mental health by eating well and exercising 3- 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes,” she added.