There are various studies and testimonies about how a balanced diet, usually accompanied by regular physical activity, positively impacts our mental health. Why is that so, and does it work for everyone?
Keep reading to find out how can you make yourself feel better by living a healthier lifestyle.
Everyone has their own eating habits, and there are multiple ways of feeding our bodies. Some of us choose to eat only plant-based foods, some enjoy meat and high protein meals, and some look at carby foods as pure evil. Jokes aside, the key is in balance.
According to scientists and nutritionists all over the world, a truly healthy diet is a balanced diet. The term ‘balanced’ is overused and often not relatively easy to understand. What is this balance we often speak about? It stands for giving your body the necessary nutrients with a variety of foods you take.
So, nutritionists in most cases do not like diets that exclude certain food groups like carbs for example, nor do they label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. On the other hand, they will encourage you to eat healthier carbs or so-called slow-release carbs.
The balance is in those things, eat everything in moderation, and choose healthier options for your meals. Sounds difficult, but in reality, it is just a permanent mindset change that happens over time.
The point is that you feed your body all the necessary minerals, vitamins, and other vital nutrients that will keep it healthy and energized to deal with your everyday tasks. Malnourishment, aka the lack of nutrients, will eventually show in your health, physical and mental equally.
Vitamins are known to impact our mental health, especially vitamins D, B6, and B12. Studies show that lower levels of vitamins from the B group can be connected to mental health problems such as depression. Supplementation is a good way to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals throughout the day.
Some foods, such as sugary and fatty snacks high in calories and low in valuable nutrients can negatively impact your mental health. Let us analyze this in a simple way. Food that is high in sugar, for example, but does not have much or any other nutrients makes is often dubbed as a simple carb food.
These types of foods give your body a short-term energy boost with little to no nutrients. This energy boost is quickly followed by a big drop of energy, and suddenly you feel tired and sleepy. Now imagine doing that often, or on a daily basis, especially if you are already struggling with mental health.
One of the biggest symptoms of depression is a lack of energy for everyday tasks. When you already lack the energy, you should find a way to give some of it back to your body. That is where healthy food can be your biggest ally. Instead of snacking on a candy bar, switch to a banana, or a fruit smoothie.
They will give you the sugar that you crave, but they will also give you other nutrients that will be slowly released into your system. You will get a slower energy boost, and the drop will be slower as well.
Physical activity in combination with healthier food choices can also help you very much. You do not have to become a professional athlete, nor spend your days in a gym. A simple long, maybe a bit faster walk can do the trick.
Moving your body in a way that suits you can result in you finding a next hobby or an activity that will make you feel grounded and relaxed. Physical activity results in the release of ‘ happy hormones ’ into your bloodstream, and it is a good way to move the focus from your thoughts to your actions.
Aside from eating healthy and having some form of physical activity, you can meditate, practice mindfulness, read, do something creative that you enjoy, etc. Self-love is hard to obtain sometimes, but when you have it, nothing can stop you.
Feeding your body the right way and treating it with respect can change your mindset a lot. This is especially important for people who are or were struggling with eating disorders. Food and exercise can help, but the most important thing is that you talk to someone if you are struggling. Mental health is not less important than physical.