The link between mood, food and hospital recovery.


It’s no secret that maintaining a good, nutritious diet is one of the best ways to live a healthy and happy life. But diet doesn’t just influence physical health, it also impacts mental wellbeing too. And for those who find themselves in hospital, access to healthy food can play a major role in keeping morale up during the battle against critical illness.

Nobody wants to have to stay in hospital. And when someone arrives on a ward, they are likely in pain, disorientated, and frightened. In short, they are not in a good place mentally, even if they’re in the right place for their health.

When our normal routines are disrupted, it is often food that can improve how we feel about things.

Studies from around the world have pointed to a direct link between quality of diet, and better wellbeing. Fruit, vegetables, oily fish… fresh food has the power to make us feel better in ourselves.

Many experts already acknowledge that the morale boosting effect of nutritious food is the secret ingredient for getting people back to health. Often, it can mean the difference between a swift discharge and a lengthy stay, and all the complications that come with it.

Which is why those three meals a day that are provided by our hospitals offer choice, fresh ingredients, and plenty of nutrition…

…unless you’re on a cultural diet.

While we rightly praise the NHS for giving every member of our society equal access to free healthcare and medical expertise, the same can’t be said for their approach to hospital nutrition.

The current NHS cultural menu doesn’t just lack freshness, it also lacks a key meal. For Jewish patients on a kosher diet, there is no breakfast option. Meanwhile, lunch and dinner comes defrosted from a stock of frozen, long-life ready meals that are full of saturated fats, and unpalatable, chewy chunks of meat. There is nothing fresh, or nutritious, on the kosher menu. And the food isn’t familiar, isn’t easy to cut up, and hard to swallow.

The choice of two of these meals a day from a limited menu is demoralising enough for your mental health, but their contents offer none of the dietary staples that NHS experts themselves would recommend.

We love and respect the NHS here at Bedside Kosher, but the reason we have to exist is because there is much work to be done on improving their cultural menu. Until that day comes, we will continue to provide the fresh meals people on kosher diet need to improve their mental wellbeing and recovery chances.

Thankfully, we do believe change is on its way. NHS decision makers have reached out to us to work with them on rethinking their cultural menu as part of a larger overhaul of the NHS’ approach to nutrition. There is work to be done, to be sure, but we are leading the way on genuine change.

In the meantime, if you or a relative finds themselves in hospital, give us a call, and we will supply you with fresh, healthy meals at no charge.