Sure-Start hear of ‘food medicine’

Home-Start Craigavon staff, trustees and volunteers.
Home-Start Craigavon staff, trustees and volunteers.

Do you ever feel low, anxious, angry or just lacking energy? Do you ever feel your moods are varied, one minute happy, the next stressed and unable to cope?

At the recent Home-Start NI Volunteers Day in the Seagoe Hotel last week, held to celebrate the incredible difference Home-visiting Volunteers make to the lives of families with young children, Bridin McKenna of Life Therapies Clinic gave a talk to the Home-Start volunteers on how ‘Food affects your Mood’.

Home-Start Craigavon Day Volunteers Committee.

Home-Start Craigavon Day Volunteers Committee.

Bridin discussed when volunteers make their weekly visit to families at home, simply chatting with parents about when and what they have eaten could help parent’s understand their overall feelings of not being able to cope or feeling overwhelmed.

Something as simple as eating breakfast with protein within an hour of rising can impact on the parent’s blood sugar and serotonin levels changing energy and mood for the rest of the day, impacting how parents can manage themselves and their children.

Also for parents whose children are displaying difficult behaviours, the importance of maintaining their blood sugar stability through regular meals and low GI snacks and reducing their intake of artificial sweeteners and preservatives, can make a substantial difference to their children’s overall concentration and performance at school.

Deborah Millar, Co-ordinator of Home-Start Craigavon and who was part of the Organising Committee for the event said: “We have been supporting and befriending families in the Craigavon area for almost 20 years. Volunteers home-visit and support families in so many areas such as emotional support, practical support eg cooking and playing with the children as well as signposting and accompanying parents to activities and events.

“However with the rise in anxiety and depression and with the increasing difficulty with children’s behaviour and emotional regulation we felt there was a something missing in the advice and support of parents. Seeing ‘food as medicine’ and using food as a way to bring stability and better mental health back to the family seems a simple yet logical and easy approach to use”.