Healthy Habits

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence

Mother and Young Daughter Cooking Together

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

From the Dietitian’s Desk
With Becca Rick, MS, RD

One aspect of living a happy, balanced life is cultivating emotional intelligence — the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and understanding the emotions of the people around you.

The choices we routinely make have the potential to positively impact our minds and bodies alike, leading to improved long-term health.

External sources of stress (i.e., relationships, work, finances) can cause internal stress in the form of inflammation and cause distraction from recognizing what our bodies need. The balance of mental and physical health is lost when we repeatedly ignore our bodily signals. Applying the principles of emotional intelligence to daily decisions around food and nutrition can improve well-being by decreasing stress response triggers in the body.

An emotionally intelligent eater brings awareness to hunger and fullness signals and makes a conscious effort to respond to those signals by eating enough to fuel their body throughout the day. Under-eating or waiting too long between meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop, affecting energy levels and mood.

Make food decisions that support energy levels, regulate blood sugar, and feed the good bacteria in your gut by choosing foods such as fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Inflammation from prolonged stress often leads to illness as gut bacteria houses much of the body’s immune system. The gut also communicates with the brain through neurotransmitters, like serotonin, directly affecting mood, sleep, and digestion.

Make an emotionally intelligent food decision today by trying this recipe for Ginataang Hipon. This is a traditional Filipino dish full of vegetables to support a happy gut. It also boasts omega-3 fatty acids from shrimp to help reduce inflammation. The rich coconut milk and warm ginger spice makes for a cozy and satisfying soup on a chilly autumn evening.


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