The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Questions of health and wellness are looming large right now, and are in the collective conscious of the world as a whole. Despite there being plenty of interest in health, the links between different aspects of people’s lives are often not discussed in great depth or definitively tied together. Despite the regular glossing-over of the way different pieces of people’s lives make up the overall puzzle of an individual’s health, there are definitive links between food, community, and health, all of which will be addressed below.
Linking Food and Community
The notion of food deserts has seen a surge in both interest and awareness in recent years, and with good reason: the food available to a given community can significantly impact the health of that community. When healthy food is not made available in a community, that community is likely to experience declines in health across all major metrics, including financial health. Community is also closely linked to food, in that food is one of the major uniting factors found in different communities and cultures. Food and community can be further linked by communities coming together in order to grow food or eliminate food deserts. Community gardens are among the simplest and easiest ways to bring community and food together to improve health. Gardening not only connects you to the food you are consuming; gardening has also been linked to improvements in mental health.
Linking Community and Health
Community is a vital part of maintaining and supporting your health. People with more robust senses of community enjoy longer lives, greater levels of happiness, and better overall health. The health of a community is valuable, too, however; without a healthy population within a community, healthy habits will not be able to thrive, grow, and find support. If everyone within a community experiences a low degree of financial health and physical health, engaging in strong savings practices and healthy habits like exercise and consuming healthy, whole foods will find far less support and commiseration than in a community where healthy food and physical habits are considered a priority.
Linking Food and Health
Food and health are heavily linked, though not necessarily in the way that many people have been taught. Diet culture has ravaged the world, suggesting that food must be carefully restricted and heavily monitored in order to support an individual’s health. This is not the case, however, and the links between food and health are more multifaceted than adopting a specific diet. Any health blog or publication can tell you that a certain diet, like a vegan diet or a paleo diet, will do wonders to improve your health, but food is not a one-size-fits-all remedy, and different foods will impact different people in unique ways. Eating a diet high in healthy, whole foods, with plenty of nutrients is the most valuable way of eating to make sure that your body performs at its optimal level and continues to foster and support its own attempts to grow and heal.
The Intersection of All Three
Food, community, and health are all twined together. The intersection of these three things means that health does not exist in a vacuum, and is not as easily manipulated as chasing a particular diet or utilizing a particular eating practice. By improving your ties to your community, evaluating and optimizing your food choices, and making health a priority, you are ultimately chasing a journey that will hone your body and mind in order to live your life to the fullest. Articles on the different elements of health often identify sleep, down time, community, food, and stress management as the most important components to make sure that your health is consistently being worked on and your life is continually being improved.