Bereavement & Nutrition

Bereavement & Nutrition

After loss, basic tasks like cooking become extremely difficult and draining; but it's so vital to ensure we're getting the nutrients we need.
While it may seem easier and less time-consuming, unhealthy eating can lead to physical and mental health problems later down the line. It's important to make sure we eat a fibre-rich diet which helps our body to control its blood sugar levels.

However, grief triggers a stress response which can impact our ability to digest food easily.

Here are some tips from specialist Sabine Horner on how to improve digestion:
  • start by "eating a rainbow". Ensuring there are at least two or more different colours of veg on our plate is one of the easiest ways to build up our fibre intake.
  • our body needs plenty of fluid in order to process the nutrients we give it, so make sure you sip on water or herbal tea throughout the day. If you don't like how water tastes, you can add cold fruit infusions to your bottle.
  • eat away from screens and if you are at work, try to step away from the desk so you can eat in a stress-free environment
  • chew your food well 
  • stick to easily digestible meals like stewed apples, soups and slow-cooked stews
  • routine is essential for good digestion, so try to eat your three meals at about the same time each day
  • if you are having difficulty swallowing, or have a heavy uncomfortable feeling in your stomach, try chewing fennel seeds. These help relax the stomach muscles to propel food easier.
  • add digestive herbs and spices like fresh ginger, garlic, fennel or cumin seeds
  • when we eat heavily processed foods (like sausages, pizza, sugary cereal), afterwards the stomach immediately craves more food because it hasn't got the nutrients it needs. So try to slowly cut down on the amount of processed food you eat, and you'll notice that you are staying full for longer.
This will seem overwhelming to begin with. Rather than trying to do everything at once, introducing small changes one by one is the best way to build up good habits which will make positive impacts on your life.

Sabine Horner is a nutritionist and yoga therapist. She supports people who have suffered loss to help them understand how their experience has affected their bodies, and how managed nutrition can benefit their wellbeing.

Sabine offers free monthly webinars on nutrition and bereavement - to find out more, click here.

Sabine also has a YouTube channel where she shares tips, recipes and insight into "culinary grief" - to watch her videos, click here.
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