How does Food & Exercise Affect Your Mental Health
Nutrition & Fitness affects on Mental Health are crucial. Striving for a healthy mind, body and soul is a noble goal, but it all begins with your mental health. 1 in 4 Americans suffer from some type of mental illness each year. The CDC is predicting that by 2020 depression will rank behind only heart disease as the leading cause of disability. Keep in mind, the importance of positive mental health cannot be overstated. Thankfully, research has shown that a healthy diet and exercise regimen help lower the risk of depression. Exercise stimulates the brain development and reduce stress levels. Here are a few tips to ensure a brighter, more positive outlook on life.
Nutrition & Fitness affects on Mental Health
Studies show 80% increase in the risk of depression for teens that eat a lowest-quality diet. Traditional diets, like the Mediterranean or Japanese diets, are high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish and seafood. They contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. This is compared to the typical Western diet, which is often loaded with processed and refined sugars. These have been shown to reduce the risk of depression and even suicide. Try eating a “clean” diet for 2 to 3 weeks by cutting out all processed foods and sugars. Try adding fermented foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles and kombucha. You’ll be shocked by how quickly you notice a difference in how you feel both mentally and physically.
As Preventive Medicine Specialist Roxanne Sukol, MD, puts it, “We are, quite literally, what we eat.” A healthy diet is crucial to brain development. In the same way a contractor wouldn’t build a house with flimsy, weak materials, you must provide your body with the proper nutrients to facilitate brain growth. From omega-3s, which improve thinking and memory, to B vitamins, which help reduce brain inflammation, the key is to choose foods that pack as many nutrients in as few calories as possible.
Types of Brain Food
A great source of zinc, which helps control the body’s response to stress, can be found in oysters, which pack 500% of your daily need but have just 10 calories apiece. Or try mussels, which are rich in brain-healthy selenium and delicious on whole-grain pasta or in a low-sodium broth. “When we eat real food that nourishes us,” Sukol says,” it becomes the protein-building blocks, enzymes, brain tissue and neurotransmitters that transfer information and signals between various parts of the brain and body.”
Exercise Provides A Mental Boost
From producing an increase in your serotonin levels to helping normalize sleep patterns. Consistent exercise and training regimens are scientifically proven to affect good mental health. Regular physical activity helps increase the volume of certain brain regions with better blood supply. Exercise improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your brain. It can also be just as good as existing pharmacological interventions for conditions. Illnesses like mild to moderate depression, dementia, and anxiety. Three or more sessions a week of aerobic exercise or resistance training, for 45 to 60 minutes per session, can help treat even chronic depression. It has the effects of becoming noticeable as soon as four weeks. As one study puts it, “Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain, so stress has less of an impact.”
Give it Time
Your mental health, it isn’t just for adults. Half of all long-term mental disorders start by age 14. Eating a proper diet and devoting time every week to exercising will pay huge dividends, both mentally and physically, down the road.
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