Nutritional Programs

“The act of nutrition has been proven in research to have a direct correlation with the improvement of mental health.”

— Eva Selhub, MD

What is Nutrition? 

Having healthy eating habits implies a balance between recognizing your body’s nutritional needs and choosing the foods to meet those needs. While unhealthy eating habits can bring little to no nutritional value, healthy eating can protect you from physical illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. Furthermore, in recent medical studies, a link has been discovered to connect the gut to the brain suggesting that healthy eating can improve a healthier mental state as well. 

But “eating” is not another world for “nutrition.” In fact, the selection, preparation, and consumption of food is referred to as “eating,” which is influenced by the environment, culture, economy, and the lifestyle you choose.  Greater part of “nutrition,” however, focuses on what is happening inside your body. It is the consumption of foods in relation to the nutrients that build them and the processes your body’s systems carry after consumption.

Therefore, nutrition involves plenty of systems within the human body to carry different nutrition tasks, including the digestive system to break foods and extract nutrients, and the circulatory system to deliver nutrients via blood flow to different organs and cells. All systems, however, work with the same goal to secure a healthy maintenance, growth, reproduction, and health of our organism.

Thus, integrating healthy eating habits and nutritional foods into our lives are both crucial for a better physical and mental health. Though the process to achieve these changes can be difficult, support is available to help you start the road toward a nutritious lifestyle.   

Nutritional Resources

How Nutrition Affects Behavioral Health

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Importance of Vitamins & Minerals

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Understanding a Nutrition Facts Label

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Nutritional Supplements for Autism & ADHD

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Recipes to Boost Brain Health Recipes

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Nutritional Support And WHY It Matters

How Can Cooking A Healthy Recipe Help?

  • Your body can more easily absorb nutrients from freshly made food, and will deliver them faster to your brain.
  • Cooking is self care, taking care of others, physical care, mindfulness, and it is part of our most basic needs.
  • Following recipes makes you conscious and knowledgeable about your eating habits.
  • Working in the kitchen requires being aware of all your senses, which can provide a therapeutic space to practice mindfulness. 
  • Spending time in the kitchen can help you examine your own feelings, analyze your personality and actions, and check on your motivations. 
  • Cooking with or for others can provide a sense of belongingness.
  • Cooking has been observed to improve social skills by boosting self-esteem.

How Do Vitamins Help?

  • Magnesium, B-12, and fatty acids found in fish can help preserve brain health, boost mood, maintain nerve health, reduce the risk of heart disease and regulate blood pressure.
  • Magnesium in fruits, dark chocolate, beans, and nuts can help the nervous system function smoothly. 
  • Thiamin found in pork, whole grains, and sunflower seeds helps the brain and nerves communicate. 

When Can Vitamin Pills Help?

  • When there is limited accessibility to fresh foods due to allergies, lifestyle, “picky” diner behavior, etc., vitamin pills can provide an alternative.
  • When you don’t eat well or consume fewer calories than needed, vitamin pills can provide the body the nutrients it needs.
  • When there are strict dietary changes in your eating habits, your body may initially reject foods it isn’t used to. Vitamin pills can support your body during the transition. 

How Can Probiotics Help?

  • “Good bacteria” can help restore gut bacteria back to natural balance allowing for efficient nutrient absorption.
  • Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been found to improve anxiety, depression, autism, OCD, and memory.
  • B. Bifidum can help generate vitamins such as K and B-12, which may also influence mood.
  • L. Acidophilus can help regulate cholesterol levels and help in nutrient absorption.


How Can Gamma-AminoButyric Acid (gaba) Help?

  • GABA can slow down activity in the nervous system, which can help with improved sleep.
  • Although GABA is not fully understood in severe anxiety disorders, it can work as a natural stress and fatigue reliever.
  • People with ADHD may have lower levels of GABA, and supplementation can help manage the symptoms.

Why Does It Matter? 

  • Reading about the unhealthiness of some popular products from the label can influence last-minute shopping behavior.
  • Nutrition facts labels allow you to compare similar food items and make educated decisions for yourself.
  • Having a participatory relationship with the food you choose to purchase and eat is essential for healthy lifestyles.
  • Understanding nutrition facts labels brings consciousness about your personal consumption, which can help you achieve better physical and mental health. 
  • Nutrition facts labels can help you identify allergens and contents you might not know are affecting you.
  • Eating psychology indicates that making better food choices can control compulsive eating behaviors.

How Can Nutrition Affect Behavior?

  • Unhealthy foods can cause irritation or discomfort in the body that can lead to irritable moods, mood swings, aggressiveness, lack of concentrating, or fatigue, which can become social or behavioral problems. 
  • Substances in some foods can contribute to changes in brain chemicals, which can affect behavior from a neuronal level.
  • A balanced intake of natural sugars found in fresh fruits and veggies may stabilize energy levels and can even make you feel good about yourself.
  • Some fruits and vegetables, as well as tea, have antioxidants that help protect your brain from damage.
  • Some nuts and eggs contain nutrients that support memory and brain development.
  • You will be at lower risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure,and even some types of cancer. 

About Shelly Xu

Shelly Xu, Nutritional Program Manager

Shelly Xu manages Poppy Life Care’s Nutrition Program, which offers general nutrition information, instructional tips and recipes for healthy foods to improve behavioral health. Shelly has a background in traditional Chinese medicine and combined modern and traditional Chinese medical therapy in the treatment of neuro-system diseases and psychiatric diseases while serving as a Resident Doctor in the Nanjing Brain Hospital in China. She conducted nutrition analyses for CKE Restaurants Holdings in California, and received her Master’s degree from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Chapman University. Prior to joining Poppy Life Care, Shelly was a Food Technologist for Blue Pacific Flavors & Fragrances Inc. in the City of Industry, California.

Schedule One-on-One Consultation with Shelly

Special Offer on Oral Supplements

Children with autism can have dietary deficits that are difficult to address through regular food consumption. Simple Spectrum is offering Poppy Life Care families a 10% discount on the purchase of an oral supplement designed to meet the nutritional needs of the developing nervous system with extra support for individuals with autism.

Click here to get the discount code.

Click here to purchase your Simple Spectrum supplement.