As is often the case with old adages, there is some truth in the idea that how you think or feel affects your body and vice versa. Your body responds to signals given to it by your brain and your body is full of nerve endings that send signals back to the brain.
Of course, some people may have healthy bodies and sick minds whereas others may have healthy minds and sick bodies. The problem is more complex than the adage would have you believe. However, the idea is to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. Here are some ways to boost your physical and mental health.
“Time-restricted eating” can boost physical and mental health
Many people need to lose some weight to be healthier but the problem with many diets is that restricting calories is unsustainable. Researchers are finding that intermittent fasting or “time-restricted eating” benefits both your body and your brain.
You can easily incorporate an extended overnight fast for 12 hours and the effects on your body mimic those of starvation and cause it to adapt in ways that promote health. It reduces inflammation, enhances cellular renewal and improves detoxification.
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What you eat influences how you function mentally
The brain consumes more of the body’s energy than other organs. Its main function is to process and transmit information through electrical signals and this is very energy-intensive. It doesn’t store energy and it needs a constant supply of energy and oxygen to function properly.
Nearly everything that you put inside your body sends a direct message to your brain so it makes sense that what you eat matters. If you’re low in essential nutrients, your brain does not perform as well as it should.
Researchers are also finding that poor diet can contribute to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, and increase risks of cognitive decline as you age.
Foods that will boost physical and mental health
Consuming many colorful fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, peppers, and dark leafy greens allow you to obtain phytonutrients and antioxidants that can reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Eating these foods results in improved absorption of nutrients and activated neural pathways, whereas eating processed or refined foods causes oxidative stress and inflammation, increasing the risk of mood disorders.
The folate found in foods like spinach, broccoli, and beans helps to improve cognitive function. Omega-3 fatty acids are also imperative for cognitive function and include walnuts, flaxseed, tuna and sardines.
Foods rich in vitamin B12 are energy-promoting and good sources include grass-fed beef, organ meats like liver and wild-caught fish.
Every bite you take sends your mind a message and you should make sure that the message contributes to your health.
What exercise does for your body and your mind
Physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain, eliminates toxins and regulates all kinds of bodily functions. Many people know about the physical benefits of exercise but are less informed about the mental ones.
Taking part in physical activity three times a week can reduce your chances of depression and boost your confidence. It releases endorphins, which help to boost your mood. It helps you to relax and distress, which can improve your sleep quality.
If you allow yourself enough time to sleep and rest, exercise regularly and eat healthily, you have a far better chance of improving your brain function, immunity, strength, and well-being.