Many people may associate the general term “health” with physical health, but your mental health also plays a key role in your well-being. Your mental health relies on a number of factors, including your genetics, but both exercise and proper nutrition play a role in preventing or treating some forms of mental illness.
Here is how regular exercise and nutrition help in improving your mental health :
- Stress Management – Exercise increases the release of norepinephrine which controls and alleviates stress. A healthy diet of whole foods provide zinc which helps maintain the body’s responses to stress. Foods high in zinc include spinach, kidney beans and oysters.
- Elevates Mood – Exercise releases a slew of other chemicals that can have positive benefits on your mental state including the release of endorphins which case feeling of euphoria and overall happiness.
- Increases Self Confidence – Even before you see actual physical benefits of exercise and healthy eating, you will have an improved self image as you know you are making healthy choice as well as the increase those feel-good chemicals pumping through your veins.
- Keep Your Mind Sharp – Exercise has shown to decrease the degradation of the brain, especially the portion responsible for leaning and memory. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids help improve memory and overall thinking ability. Some good sources of Omega-3 includes fish, walnuts, soybeans, and spinach.
- Reduces Anxiety – Not only does exercise and nutrition reduce stress but also helpful for people with a wide variety of anxiety disorders. Having a health diet rich in active cultures such as Kefir and yogurt helps maintain a healthy digestive system which helps reduce anxiety and depression.
- Increases Cognition – Cardiovascular exercise can help form new brain cells as well as boost the level of protein (BDNF) which is responsible for learning and decision making.
- Improves Sleep and Relaxation – Exercise has proven to be one of the most powerful remedies for insomnia and other sleeping disorders. A healthy diet containing lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein can help improve the duration and quality of your sleep.
- Bumps Creativity and Overall Production – Exercise has been shown to increase creativity for upto 2 hours after you workout. If you are stuck in a creativity rut, take a run outdoors to get those creative juices flowing again.
Following a healthy and balanced diet, as well as following a fitness program all benefit your mental health, but cannot always replace traditional therapy for mental illness. A doctor can examine the root of a mental health issue and recommend a balance of lifestyle modifications, therapy and medication to help improve your emotional well-being. If you’re suffering a mental health emergency, call a crisis hotline in your area or seek immediate medical attention.