Get Your Head in the Game!
When it comes to your health, two factors usually come to mind: your physical activity and your diet. However, there is a very important and essential factor when it comes to your overall health and well-being that some people often do not take into consideration: your mental health. We are all guilty of it. Some days start off on a bad tone and we tend to carry that tone with us throughout our day. While positivity and relaxation are both key components when it comes to improving upon your mental health, read about other tips and suggestions we have for you in order to ensure your body can become and stay mentally fit!
AVOID HIGH SUGARS
Our body creates and supplies glucose for our bodies which our brains need throughout the day. These are healthy sugars. However, the simple sugars which are located in junk food cause peaks and drops in this circulation, and therefore upset the balance of our brain. These simple sugars can be found in everything from coffee to fruit. According to the World Health Organization, it is recommended that only 5% of our caloric intake come from sugars. These recommendations often point to fruits and vegetables as the recommended choice as they are filled with other nutrients that your body needs in addition to the sugars.
Today, however, people are consuming close to 5 times that much! We are on a constant forward motion as we get through our day and often rely on readily available items as opposed to nutritional items. While making yourself a cup of coffee to take to work can range between 0 to 120 calories, when we stop at local coffee shops for say, your favorite Macchiato frappe, the calories jump to 400+! The same goes for cooking and packing your own lunch – preparing your own food allows you to control what goes in it while eating out is a constant battle with large portions, preservatives and additives that add unnecessary calories and sugars to your meal.
Studies have shown that high sugar consumption can lead to low levels of insulin. As a result of this, cognitive functions such as memory and learning skills can be at risk. Allow yourself the time to meal prep for a couple of days in order to control your sugar intake. Think twice about the drinks you purchase and make sure that you get rid of all the extra sugars (whip cream, vanilla syrup) when doing so. A good rule of thumb for dining out? Always pack half your food away before you begin in order to control your portions.
GET MORE PROTEIN
The amino acids found in the protein we consumer are key components for a healthy brain. They provide essential materials that are needed to create the neurotransmitters that our brains depend on. Experts have stated that 20-25% of our daily diet should come from protein. According to Psychology Today, “The hormones and enzymes that cause chemical changes and control all body processes are made of proteins.” Therefore, the basis for our brain’s daily function stems in part from the proteins we consume!
Most people do not realize that protein is found in a plethora of items aside from the obvious meat products such as seafood, poultry and beef. You can serve yourself a good portion of the following to ensure you are consuming your daily diet needs: eggs, beans, soy, oats, broccoli and cottage cheese!
REGULATE YOUR STRESS WITH VITAMINS
Everyone knows how stressful stress can be on your body. Stress hormones, however, can be regulated by vitamins such as Vitamin B, B3, and C. These vitamins can protect your body and its neurotransmitters from stress hormones that can have a negative effect on your body and your health.
Stress is also, a matter of feeling overwhelmed or not having enough time to complete your tasks. It is often helpful to take a couple of minutes out of your day to get out of the office and clear your head. Take a 10 minute walk and clear your head. Allow yourself to return refreshed and ready to tackle the next order of business.
READ A BOOK
We know that when it comes to your body, it is important to exercise and stay physically active. When it comes to your brain, however, we do not realize that we need to do the same thing. Reading is the exercise of the mind! It can help to stimulate your brain and reduce your levels of stress. Reading has also been linked to improvements in memory as well. Today, we are often glued to our phones. How can we escape a beaming light of pure information on the palm of our hands? Take a step back and disconnect from social media, email and cat videos.
REMEMBER TO SMILE
Research shows that a regular gratitude practice has the capacity to create new neural pathways that support a more positive outlook. Being around positive and uplifting people has also been shown to increase your happiness and overall sense of feeling. This is important to remember for you personally because, after all, you don’t want to be that one friend responsible for bringing everyone else’s mood down!
Photo: Courtesy of The Awkward Yeti Comic Strip featuring Heart & Brain