Why Eating Well Can Help Enrich Your Soul
We all know that our diet has a profound effect on our physical health: from clearer skin to maintaining a healthy weight to levels of fitness and endurance, what we eat has a huge impact. However, diet also plays a crucial role in mental and emotional health and well-being, meaning it really is possible to eat your way to happiness!
Read on for some tips and hacks to easily eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle to benefit both your body and your mind.
Clean Up Your Diet
There’s been a spotlight recently on clean eating trends; while many people don’t find these diets helpful due to their categorizing of foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ some of the basic principles are useful and can be used to easily improve your diet.
Cutting back on processed foods is key. Rather than choosing ham or other types of cured meats for your lunchtime sandwich, opt for chicken breast, egg, avocado, or tuna instead. Switch out the bacon for a grilled portobello mushroom at brunch and, for dinner, try oven-baking a portion of salmon in foil. Simply wrap it with a dash of olive oil and some herbs; this takes less than a minute longer than extracting a frozen pizza and shoving it in the oven.
If you want to lose weight as part of a drive to maintain a healthier lifestyle, then there are weight loss programs that provide chef-curated pre-prepared meals using fresh, seasonal, and even organic ingredients to help you get the high-quality nutrients you need while losing weight.
Eating for Wellness
Numerous studies have proven the link between what we eat and depression: basically, if we eat well, we’re much less likely to suffer from the symptoms of depression or have an existing condition exacerbated. Ensuring we’re getting the proper levels of nutrients is one of the best ways to promote better mental health.
Aim to eat plenty of foods that are high in omega-3, as well as folates, such as chickpeas and asparagus. Vitamin B12 can also play a key role in maintaining good mental health, so load your plate with foods such as tuna, shrimp, beef, and milk; magnesium and Vitamin D support the general well-being of the body and mind: the former can be found in, for example, spinach and yogurt, and the latter in eggs, fatty fish, and mushrooms.
Eat for Sleep
For many of us, sleep can be an issue. Whether it’s an occasional bad night or a frequent difficulty in dropping off and sleeping through the night, not getting enough slumber can have a devastating impact on mental and emotional health, especially if it happens regularly.
You may be surprised at the part that diet plays in our ability to sleep well. The presence of tryptophan in the body can determine how quickly we doze off and our ability to sleep deeply – it is connected to the release of the sleepy hormones melatonin and serotonin. So, eating enough foods containing this hormone can help you to sleep properly and awake, feeling refreshed and full of energy. Choose protein-based foods to this end, such as chicken, turkey, fish, beef, soybeans, and eggs. Carbohydrates play a role in how tryptophan works in the body, so ensuring you’re also eating enough carb-based food can help, too.
And sleep-impairing foods that should be avoided before bed include foods high in fat or that are spicy, sugar, alcohol, and, of course, caffeine.
Food to Focus the Mind
Diet can even play a part in how well we’re able to concentrate and learn. Blueberries are regularly cited as one of the best foods to eat to boost cognitive capacity and improve memory function. This superfood has also been linked to slowing the rate of mental decline in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
And it’s yet another reason to get fatty fish on the menu regularly: salmon, mackerel, cod, and pollock are among the fish that, if consumed often, can improve memory and the ability to concentrate.
Green tea is perfect for boosting alertness and promoting overall focus – it’s thought to stimulate the brain’s context to give long periods of mental clarity and dexterity. Aim to drink three to five cups daily for optimal benefits.
Quick Fixes to Level Up Your Diet and Eat Better
Try these quick hacks to easily get more nutrients into your daily diet:
- Sprinkle nuts, chopped fruit, or cinnamon onto your morning cereal or oatmeal
- Stir a handful of spinach into a casserole or pasta bake
- Add some grated carrot to a spaghetti bolognese or lasagne
- Add chopped mushrooms or bell peppers to scrambled eggs
- Put a couple of handfuls of peas and chopped tomatoes into a risotto
- Boost your sandwiches with added watercress or rocket
- Take a pot of blueberries to work to snack on
A Plateful of Happiness!
Eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle really can make you feel happier, more energized, and ready to take on whatever the day throws at you! Aim to eat nutritious food in an array of colors, such as bright red tomatoes and bell peppers, rich green spinach, and vividly colored citrus fruits.
As well as promoting a better mood and helping you to sleep better at night, eating well can even boost creativity and problem-solving skills and enhance a sense of optimism.