Lifestyle360 and the Dietary Dimensions of Wellness

Lifestyle360 and the Dietary Dimensions of Wellness
As National Nutrition Month comes to a close, we want to emphasize the work of our Food and Dining department, and specifically our Corporate Dietitian Annette Catalfano, RDN.

Here at Five Star Senior Living, our Lifestyle360 Program centers on 5 Dimensions of Wellness: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. While we use these dimensions to guide the programming activities that we plan and run for our residents, Annette provides a dimensional approach to nutrition and wellness as well.

Emotional Dimension

The emotional dimension of nutrition is the sense of warmth and love that eating brings. We see this in various cultures around the world, most notably in Italian culture. For instance, Italian cuisine uses olive oil and tomato sauce as the base for many of their entrees. Tomato sauce is rich in the powerful antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to decrease risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Some may not know that heat-processed tomato products actually have a higher amount of antioxidants than raw ones. Olive oil is a mono unsaturated fat which through studies has been shown to decrease total cholesterol, as well as providing an excellent source of antioxidants.

Intellectual Dimension

The intellectual dimension of nutrition is related to our hunger for knowledge. For example, an article catches your eye about the benefits of a vegan diet. You can incorporate the knowledge gained by preparing a vegan entrée for a family dinner—something as simple as a salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, red onion, tomatoes, black beans, chick peas and avocado will provide fiber, Vitamin C, protein, folate, Vitamins E and K, and beta-carotene.

Physical Dimension

The physical dimension of nutrition involves the importance of texture in your meals; both in terms of health benefits and in the act of eating itself. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables provide an abundance of fiber as well as many of the vitamins and minerals that bodies of all ages need. When it comes to the act of eating itself, having varied, pleasing textures in each of the dishes you eat is just as important as the taste. Too soft or too hard, even the most delicious and nutritious meals can become unappealing.

Spiritual Dimension

The spiritual dimension of nutrition is less about the actual taste of a dish, and more about taking in the feeling of nourishment and satisfaction that food gives you. One of the most important senses that trigger these feelings is smell. Adding spices and herbs to a dish enhances your sense of nourishment and satisfaction. Adding garlic to a dish is a classic example. The aroma of garlic in a dish is not only pleasant, but it also stems from one of its biggest health benefits. Garlic has a chemical called allicin, which gives it its aromatic properties. For centuries, garlic was used to treat a wide array of health conditions; from cardiovascular diseases to hypertension. And while science has only recently proven its health benefits, people throughout history probably used garlic in their cooking to bring that feeling of nourishment to meals in addition to its delicious taste.

Social Dimension

The social dimension of eating is all about dining with friends and family and the feelings of happiness and fulfillment that it can bring. One of the many side effects of isolation is its contribution to decreased nutritional status. Conversely, the laughter and love shared around a dining table nourishes the body and soul and can make you feel more content and happy. Some recent studies suggest that social influences on eating are powerful and pervasive. The social context of eating may be an important factor underlying the development and maintenance of obesity. One of the reasons we eat differently when we are socializing with others is that it affects our meal choices as we adjust to what our dining companions are eating.