Food is Fuel
Dr. Clare Collins, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics and Director of Research in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Newcastle, explains that food is the primary fuel that the body uses for all of its functions. This includes growth and repair, fueling your muscles, and fueling your brain. In addition, the rapidly growing field of nutritional psychiatry is finding that there are many connections between what we eat and how we feel, both physically and mentally.
For example, poor eating habits make you feel lethargic, irritable, unmotivated, and/or anxious. It also impairs your immune system. On the other hand, a healthy and nutritious diet fuels your body and mind which makes you feel energized, focused and more positive. It also improves your immune system and helps prevent diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
When it comes to creating a healthy meal plan, follow these tips from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Harvard Health:
- Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Limit red meats and focus on lean proteins, such as fish, chicken and turkey.
- Choose healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. You can also check out our previous blog post about foods that have been linked to improved brain function to help you choose healthy snacks!
- Pay attention to nutrition labels and watch out for added sugars, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
The Power of Exercise
Exercise also plays an important role in fueling your body and mind. When combined with a nutritious diet, exercising regularly protects and improves brain function, promotes a healthy immune system, enhances sleep, allows the body to heal and repair itself better, promotes healthy aging and lowers your risk for chronic diseases. Staying physically active is also linked to improved mental health. Psychology Today even cited recent studies that show exercise may be the solution to treating depression and anxiety, and could even help manage the symptoms of dementia and schizophrenia. Click here to learn more about the benefits of regular physical activity and how to get started on your fitness journey!
Fueling your body and mind is one of the topics in our monthly newsletter, HD Heartbeat. To learn about additional health and wellness topics, email us to get signed up!