Serotonin is the body’s feel-good chemical. If you’re feeling low, you can increase your brain serotonin levels by eating high-protein foods such as eggs, turkey, chicken, and legumes like beans. Fat for the win! Feeding our brains and nervous system with omega-3 fats can help regulate our mood. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring a couple of times a week, or handfuls of nuts and seeds each day. Quality carbs. Because our body turns carbohydrates into glucose, we need to choose the healthy ones if we want to improve our mood. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, brown rice, legumes, and yoghurt are all good examples of carbs that provide long-lasting energy rather than a quick high, followed by a crash.
Category: mental wellness
Food and Happiness
Unfortunately, it’s not just a figment of the imagination, if you feel tired and sad in the dark winter months. In fact, according to studies, more than 5% of Americans experience seasonal depression due to the lack of light and thus a serotonin deficiency in the brain. An unhealthy diet, especially one filled with processed foods can promote depression. But this need not be accepted as a fate. There are some foods that are good for our mind – and chocolate is not the only one.
Fish with their high-quality omega-3 fatty acids and walnuts, for example, can promote mental wellness. Avocado, figs, sunflower seeds, cheese, etc. support the formation of serotonin (the happiness hormone). Green vegetables such as spinach, chard, kale, parsley, but also bananas contain plenty of the anti-stress mineral magnesium, which can have a positive effect on mood swings.
World Mental Health Day
Today is World Mental Health Day. It was first observed on October 10th, 1992, and since then has become a day to raise awareness about mental health issues and create lasting change. With the COVID-19 pandemic and other global issues, more people than ever are struggling with varying aspects of mental health. Now is the time to educate ourselves about mental health challenges, available resources, and how to support those around us who may be struggling. To learn more or find mental resources, check out the links below.
Picture: Mental Health Foundation UK
Nutrition and Mental Health
Keeping a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and keeping an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intake is very important for everyone. The importance of this is even greater for people with mental health challenges because:
– It is possible that eating and drinking healthily can improve some symptoms of disorders like anxiety and depression.
– A poor diet and unhealthy drinking habits may exacerbate poor mental health.
– Medications used to treat certain disorders may interact with foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
-Diet may have a negative effect on mental health for a variety of reasons, including changes in blood glucose levels (sugar), inflammation, or effects on microbes living in the gut (called the microbiome).
– Additionally, eating well prevents some chronic diseases like diabetes, which also affect mental health.
A person’s weight can impact their mental health. Some medicines for mental illness also cause weight gain, which adds to the problem. It is possible to improve mental health by releasing weight through be
er nutrition and exercise.
These are just some examples of the role nutrition plays on mental health, but eating right comes down to each individual’s needs. Metabolic Balance® plans are completely personalized to help you target many aspects of your health – including your mental health. If you feel like you’re struggling, then your nutrition could be a great place to start…
Cooking to Relax
In the evening, after work, many people usually don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen, let alone going shopping and waiting at the checkout. After all, who needs vegetables, salad or potatoes when there’s a pizza in your freezer? More and more people are discovering the wellness factor in cooking and, alone or together, enjoy relaxing while chopping and stirring after a busy day. While their fingers are busy with the ingredients and wonderful smells fill the kitchen, many people can easily work off their stress. Add in a bit of good music or a great podcast, and you have a perfect space to relax after a long day.
At the same time, the body can recharge its batteries for the next day!
Rest and Wellness
An important aspect of wellness is taking time away from work to rest and recharge. Research has demonstrated that people who take time off or vacations have lower levels of stress, have a reduced risk of heart disease, and increased motivation. Additional benefits of taking time away from work include:
-Improved physical health: An article by the New York Times reported that taking a vacation every 2-6 years can decrease the risk of heart disease.
-Improved mental health: Taking a vacation can decrease levels of stress, allowing the body to relax and heal.
-Decreased burnout: Employees who take time off are less likely to experience burnout and have been to shown to be more productive and creative.
The bottom line is that it is important for both your physical and mental health to take a few days off. Whether that consists of a small weekend away or a longer trip, time away from the stress and pressure of work is important. A vacation, no matter how short can help you feel refreshed and improve overall wellness.
Gratitude and taking time to be grateful is such an important part of the day. It has been shown in many studies to be positively associated with increased happiness and wellness. With the challenges of the past year and a half and changes to our “normal” it can be hard to find a window in the day to reflect on gratitude. So today we challenge you to take a moment and reflect on something you are grateful for today. Has something made you smile in the last few days? Has a co-worker or friend been there for you?
For example, today I am grateful for nature and my ability to go outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. How about you?
Photo: Metabolic Balance Australia and New Zealand
Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! The pandemic over the past year has taken a toll on many of us while also making access to resources for mental health more challenging. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that we stay connected with members of our community and provide and receive support. Every year in America less than half the adults who struggle with mental illness actually receive the adequate care and help that they need. Take a moment today to check in with yourself or a loved one and make sure they have the support and care they need.
Photo: National Alliance on Mental Health
Wise words from Dr. Mark Hyman….
“Your thoughts have real and measurable effects on your body and brain. Your immune cells know your deepest feelings. Your stem cells are wired to your brain and help you repair and regenerate. But they only turn on and make new brain cells when you relax. And I don’t mean sipping a glass of Chardonnay while watching TV or practicing retail therapy. In school, we all learned how to read and write, but we never learned how to use our minds to help us with the most important survival skills of all: staying happy and healthy! Research has shown over and over again that learning to relax is one of the most important keys to long-term health and vitality. To engage the powerful forces of the mind on the body, you must DO something. Learn how to ACTIVELY relax. Whether you practice deep breathing or take a simple leisurely walk, find an active relaxation that works for you and do it. Here are a few more ideas on how to push your pause button:
1) Make choices that make your life balanced — practice saying “NO” to others and “YES” to yourself.
2) Try yoga or meditation.
3) Get enough sleep.
4) Eat whole foods that decrease the stress response”
Credit: Dr. Mark Hyman
Life is Too Short
“Life is too short for someday.”
The right nutrition plays an important role, not only for our body, but also for the mind. Healthy foods increase the capabilities of our brain. We feel more youthful, fit, quick-witted and can keep up with the pace of everyday life. In short, with Metabolic Balance you bring yourself and your body back into the right balance and you have a lot of fun!
Rather than wait for someday, make the choice to optimize your health today!
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