There are many situations in life where we find ourselves feeling sad and upset and depressed. People often suggest that eating chocolate or sugar might help. But that may not always be the case.
Sometimes the food you eat affects your mood a lot. Eating healthy food and exercising regularly can help in keeping your stress level and anxiety under control and boost your mental health.
Up to 5 percent of the Indian population deals with common mental problems such as depression and anxiety & up to 2 percent of them deal with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
This data is as per the reports by the National Commission of Macroeconomics and Health, 2005.
The significant discussion about exercise and a balanced diet on physical health is the considerable discussion.
But the awareness about the impact of these things on mental health is growing nowadays at an incredible pace.
People are getting aware of their mental health to keep their mind fit and healthy. In this post, we have covered how to boost mental health with proper diet and exercises.
How what you eat affect your mind?
The brain works on the fuel supplied by the food we eat. It proves that the foods we eat affect our brain’s structure and function.
Food rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants provides nourishment to the brain. Whereas food having a high quantity of refined sugar or processed foods harm the brain and result in mood disorders such as depression.
90 percent of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls our mood, is also produced in our gastrointestinal tract. So, it is safe to say that a person’s digestive system does not just digest food but also guides their mood.
A portion of good food with a mix of the right nutrients has enough power to change your mood and cheer you up.
Essential nutrients for good mental health include:
- Food rich in Omega-3 fatty acid, mostly found in salmon, walnuts, flax seeds, and soya beans, provides benefits such as improving memory and learning ability. It also helps in fighting mental problems such as depression.
- Foods like lentils, oatmeal, raisins, and leafy vegetables are rich in iron. They help you in feeling energetic and reduce apathy and depression.
- Zinc also helps in dealing with depression. Therefore, it is a good thing to involve food like pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, and spinach.
- Magnesium helps in the production of serotonin. Foods like fish, leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, bananas, and dark chocolate have abundant magnesium in them.
- Vitamin D, found in eggs and milk, also helps in fighting depression.
- Vitamin B12 helps the body synthesize a group of nutrients that is very important for neurological functions to work correctly, fighting depression. Meat and eggs are rich in B12.
Your mood and well-being can be protected only when you have a diet full of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and water.
Benefits of Exercises on Mental Health:
People generally exercise because they get a feeling of physical and mental well-being, which keeps them energetic and helps them sleep better at night.
Regular exercises have been proven to positively affect people suffering from depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
It also helps in relieving stress, improving memory, facilitates better sleep, and uplifts your mood. You do not have to be a fitness freak to take benefit.
According to research, even a small amount of exercise is more than enough.
Your age or fitness level will not affect your ability to learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to improve your mental health, increase your energy and outlook and get more out of life.
Regular physical exercise can still offer you many benefits even when you do not suffer from mental health.
It will boost your mood, outlook, and mental well-being.
Exercise can help you in achieving:
- Sharp memory and thinking: The endorphins responsible for making you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp. It also helps stimulate new brain cells’ growth and helps prevent a mental disorder associated with age.
- Higher self-esteem: The best investment for your body, mind, and soul is regular exercise. It improves the sense of self-worth and makes you feel strong and powerful when it becomes a regular habit. It will make you feel better about the way you look. You also feel a great sense of achievement upon reaching small goals set by you.
- Better sleep: Short exercise in the morning or afternoon helps regulate your sleep pattern and help achieve better sleep. If you feel like exercising at night, then mild stretching or yoga enables you to better sleep.
- More energy: Increasing your heart rate several times a week can be a good thing for you. Starting up your day with exercise for a few minutes can give more energy to increase the workout and feel the same during the day.
- Strong resilience: Exercise helps you make strong and cope healthily whenever you face emotional or mental health in life. It keeps you from resorting to things like alcohol, drugs, or any other negative behavior, ultimately making things worse. Regular exercise improves your immune system and reduces the stress you feel daily.
The Bottom Line:
One out of four people deals with mental health at one point in time. In these times people need a trustworthy place to go to, get help and guidance.
It isn’t easy to find such a place that provides advice that boosts mental health. It gets difficult for people to get the help they need.
Therefore, in such cases, it is essential to make necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Eating food rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and complex carbohydrates is better than resorting to sugar or unhealthy food to improve your mood.
Doing regular exercise can also help fight mental health problems and uplift your mood and improve self-confidence and self-esteem.
Written By: Ayushi Yadav