We all know that eating right and exercising can help us look better. But did you know it can benefit your mental and physical health as well? Here’s how.
Maintaining a proper diet can do more than make you look better. A proper diet helps fight many potential medical conditions and can improve your body’s health. According to the Nutritionists at EatRight.org, chronic inflammation from poor diet can play a role in heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease. Eating a proper diet can decrease inflammation and improve overall health.
Focus on incorporating the following into your daily diet:
- Plenty of vegetables: include leafy greens such as kale, chard and brussels sprouts.
- Fresh or frozen fruits: Berries and cherries pack a serious antioxidant punch.
- Heart-healthy fats: Enjoy olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and halibut to name a few.
- Add fresh herbs and spices to your meals for extra flavor and nutrient-value.
Benefits to Your Mental Health. According to the experts at Harvard Medical School, your diet also has a direct impact on your mental health. Eliminating processed foods and foods with sugar, and increasing foods that have probiotics, can make you feel better. Your outlook improves and you experience reduced inflammation. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and miso offer probiotics. Try eliminating food groups such as dairy and grains and add them back in, carefully gauging how you feel.
Physical activity can improve your overall wellness. The experts at MedicineNet explain that exercising can help fight many medical conditions.
- Heart disease and stroke. Daily exercise helps strengthen your heart muscle, lowers blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels.
- Diabetes. Reducing body fat can prevent or control this disease.
- Back pain. Improved strength and flexibility can reduce back pain.
- Osteoporosis. Routine weight-bearing exercise can improve bone density and reduce risk of bone loss.
Benefits to Your Mental Health. Huffington Post advises that regular exercise offers numerous mental health benefits.
- Reduces stress. Exercise is an outlet for negative energy and can increase levels of a stress-regulating chemical, norepinephrine, in your brain.
- Releases feel-good chemicals. In addition to the stress-regulating chemical, your brain increases the output of your feel-good endorphins.
- Prevents decline. At the age of about 45, our brains start shrinking and deteriorating. Exercising can boost chemicals in the brain that help maintain it’s health and ability.
- Sharpens memory. Working out increases the production of cells in the part of your brain that is responsible for memory and learning.
- Controls addiction. Exercise increases the body’s output of dopamine, which can help curb cravings in recovering addicts.
Finding a way to add a fitness regimen into your daily routine isn’t always easy. Maybe going to the gym isn’t for you. It could be too costly or too hard to fit into your schedule. Life Fitness suggests adding a home workout space. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. As little as a yoga mat and a few small dumbbells stowed in your living room will work. If you have a spare bedroom, you can convert it with larger equipment, but you can still do a lot with a small amount of floor and a closet to store a few pieces of equipment.
Overall Wellness. Eating right and exercising are good for your overall well-being and can improve your physical and mental health. If you can’t get to a gym, try adding a workout area to your home.
Taking care of your body will help you feel better on the inside and out!
Guest Author: Jennifer Scott
With SpiritFinder, Ms. Scott offers a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can discuss their experiences.