Research says you can eat, drink and exercise your way to a great marriage. Find out how.
"If the head and the body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul." (Plato)
Make no mistake about it – what we eat, drink, and otherwise ingest into our bodies has a significant effect on both our physical and mental health.
The couples we have interviewed around the world who have great marriages know the importance of being healthy in BOTH a physical AND mental sense. Don’t shortchange your relationship by thinking otherwise.
If someone told you that the lack of Vitamin C could lead to Scurvy, you would say – "Everybody knows that!"
If someone told you that the lack of proper levels of Folic Acid in pregnant women could lead to Autism in the child that is born, you would agree. The evidence in support of this notion seems pretty overwhelming.
Unless you have been living in a hole for the past 50 years, you know that proper nutrition is essential for good PHYSICAL health. No one disputes this simple notion.
Yet, when you extend the notion of proper nutrition to mental health, some folks look at you like a deer in the headlights of your car! They ask, "Huh?" What could nutrition possibly have to do with good mental health and a great marriage?
Why do so many believe that proper nutrition only applies to good physical health and not to good mental health? This is the question of the day that we will address it in this article.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR, Fourth Edition), ". . .4 out of the 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are mental disorders. Major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are among the most common mental disorders that currently plague numerous countries and have varying incidence rates." Many scientists believe that the root causes of several of these diseases are nutritionally based.
Studies show that a lack of certain dietary nutrients contributes to the development of mental and associated disorders. For example, essential vitamins such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, certain minerals, and the omega-3 fatty acids, have been found to be deficient in patients suffering from mental disorders, including depression. Unfortunately, these vitamins are often deficient in the general population in America and other developed countries.
A number of years ago, Charley taught a special seminar course entitled, "Nutrition and Mental Health." He admitted a half-dozen, carefully selected graduate students, and they began a journey to discover the truth about the relationship between mental health and proper nutrition.
They collected data for a good part of a semester from a myriad of international sources. They then compared their findings about mental health and nutrition to selected scales of the well-known and much used Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
To the astonishment of Charley and his students, the correlation between nutrition and mental health was overwhelming. They took their results and created what they called the “Psycho-Nutrition Inventory” (PNI, 1983).
The simple truth they discovered was this – the single best predictor of selected scale scores on the MMPI was the PNI. Translation – the best predictor of mental health was nutritional intake, or lack thereof!
Imagine the surprise and joy over this important discovery! The best predictor of mental health was a score on an inventory that measured nutritional levels! Does the word “breakthrough” come to mind?
To quote from Charley’s study in 1983 (which still holds true today): “Namely, there is a sufficient amount of evidence available in the Orthomolecular research literature to suggest that a maladjusted person is certainly not going to get better psychologically if he/she continues to exhibit nutritionally maladaptive behaviors. Clearly, if maladjusted clients can learn to effectively control those nutritional and corollary habits that increase their mental "unhealthiness", as defined by psycho/ nutrition theory, then they at least have a fighting chance to become healthy through the utilization of other treatment strategies employed by the counselor.”
The human body is a very complex entity. But the truth is, those who separate mind and body in their analysis of the human being are just plain wrong – just plain out of touch with the realities of what it means to be human!
Here’s the deal – in order to sustain a quality relationship with the one you love you need to have good mental health. In order to maintain good mental health you need to engage in proper nutrition – you need to eat healthy and engage in healthy activities! Virtually all of the “rules” you hear about healthy eating and healthy living for a healthy “physical body” also apply to a healthy “mental body.” The elixir of good health is exercise, healthy eating, and nutritional supplementation to fill in the holes.
Over these past 31 years, we have studied successful marriages on all 7 of the world’s continents, in 47 countries, and in all 50 of these United States. Make no mistake about it – good mental and physical health is of paramount importance for a “healthy” and successful marriage and relationship.
As we have written about in our several books, articles, and blogs over the years, one of the “Seven Secrets of a Successful Marriage” is this – long-time successfully married couples care about each other’s health and do their best to promote good health in each other. They know that the way you emote, your anxiety, your productivity, and your ability to engage in a loving relationship, are all affected by what you put into your mouth (or do not!) and how you maintain the health of your body – both mentally and physically. Successful marriages long ago recognized that you must manage your mind and mood through food, exercise, and healthy living.
It does take "Two to Tango,” make no mistake about that. Your physical and psychological wellbeing are very important to the success of your marriage.
Don’t worry. Be healthy. Be happy. Love well.
Creating a successful marriage or relationship is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts.
**Today, you can see how you stack up to the best marriages around the world. Take the Marriage Quiz to assess your chances of achieving a successful marriage of your own.
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts