Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally healthy means, you’re able to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to your community.
There are many things you can do to support your mental health. Some of the most important things you can do are exercise and eat a healthy diet.
How can exercise boost mental health?
You have probably heard Calgary Psychologists insisting on the importance of exercises for mental health, and rightfully so. Exercise can help by:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
Mental health issues often go hand-in-hand with stress and anxiety. Exercise can help reduce these symptoms by releasing endorphins, which are hormones that boost mood. These hormones block pain signals from the brain and also act as a natural mood booster.
- Improving sleep
Not only can exercise improve the quantity of your sleep, but also the quality. If you have trouble sleeping, exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.
- Increasing energy levels
If you’re dealing with mental health issues, chances are you’re not feeling too energetic. Exercise can help increase your energy levels and give you the boost you need to get through the day.
- Improving cognitive function
Exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
All of these benefits can lead to better mental health. And the more you exercise, the more you’ll see these benefits. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking) three to five times a week can make a big difference in your mental health. If you’re not used to exercising, start slow and build up gradually.
How can nutrition boost mental health?
Just like exercise, nutrition can also play a role in mental health. Eating a healthy diet can improve your mood, reduce anxiety and stress, and give you more energy. Some specific nutrients that are important for mental health include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
These are found in fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, as well as in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health. They can improve cognitive function and reduce inflammation.
- Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is found in many foods, including poultry, fish, potatoes, bananas, and beans. It helps the body make serotonin, which is a hormone that plays a role in mood.
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products like meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. It helps with the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of the nervous system.
Folate is found in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fortified foods. It helps the body make DNA and new cells.
These are just some of the nutrients that are important for mental health. Eating a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods is the best way to get all the nutrients you need.
After going through this read, it is clear that leading a healthy lifestyle by exercising and having a proper diet can significantly improve mental health. It is essential that people dealing with mental health issues, should do their best to exercise and eat a nutrient-rich diet to improve their condition.