Many of us may assume that the term "health" generally denotes physical health. But your mental health also plays an important role to improve your overall health.
Almost 5% of Americans experience some form of severe mental illness, as per the National Institutes of Mental Health. They also revealed that the patients are mostly between the ages of 18 and 25.
Our mental health status might consider several internal factors, including our genetics. But both exercising and proper nutrition is required to prevent or treat some forms of mental illness.
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The importance of exercising and nutrients
Since ancient times, people are aware of the fact that exercise can improve physical health tremendously. Medical professionals always prescribe regular exercise to improve your health and to fight against diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Exercising is not commonly known as a significant part of a treatment to cure patients who suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. But now new research explains that exercising has multiple good effects on our mental health issues.
Michael Otto, Ph.D., and professor of psychology at Boston University added that - “The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong.” In the October 2011 issue of The American Psychologist, Roger Walsh explained that exercise is a healthy, cheap, and underused method of treating psychiatric disorders.
Unhealthy lifestyles can increase physical problems in you, and can also create mental health issues. Doing regular workouts can be helpful to maintain a sense of well-being. You may feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about yourself and your lives.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
On the other hand, studies reveal people who don’t have a healthy diet were more likely to show symptoms of depression or other mental health issues. Professionals explained that there is some relation between certain nutrients in food and emotional well-being. These nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamin D, magnesium, B vitamins, and tryptophan.
How exercise can affect mental illness
The link between exercise and mental health is complicated. But there are examples where daily exercise can boost your mind:
Regular exercise can help you sleep better. Having a good sleep is necessary to regulate your moods.
Exercise may improve your sense of control, clear your mind, and self-esteem.
Exercise can help you avoid negative thoughts and gives you the courage to gain new experiences.
Through a group workout session, you may be able to socialize with other people and make new contacts.
Daily exercise can help you to calm your mind as it changes the levels of chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, stress hormones, and endorphins.
Exercise removes toxins from our body and that somehow keeps our brain more active.
A good workout session may work as an outlet for your frustrations.
Exercising can impact any mental issues that you might be facing for a long time. These are the impact:
Studies have revealed that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression. Exercise helps you to fight depression for several reasons. Most importantly, it helps the brain to make necessary changes in the brain, such as neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activities that may promote feelings of well-being.
Exercise is an effective anti-anxiety treatment that can relieve tension and stress. It also boosts your physical and mental energy and releases endorphins.
Exercising is also an effective way to reduce stress. By releasing endorphins in the brain, regular physical activity will help you to soothe the muscles and provide you relief from tension. Since our body and mind are related through vital nerves, when your body feels better, your mind also feels good.
Exercising regularly is one of the easiest and most effective options to fight against the symptoms of ADHD. Daily work out may improve your concentration, motivates you, and also increases your memory and mood. Hardcore workout sessions may boost the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels.
How healthy food habits (Nutrients) can affect mental illness
The idea is to eat foods that have as many nutrients as possible with low calories. If you are suffering from mental health issues and eagerly need a one-stop solution for psychological problems, the first thing you should do is to consult a dietician and get a balanced diet chart, as per your body weight, age, and lifestyle.
The best way to use nutrition to support your mental health is to focus on your overall dietary patterns.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, advised that a healthy, balanced diet should include:
fruits and vegetables
Limited amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar
3 Ways a balanced diet Impacts mental health
1. A balanced diet is important for brain development
Roxanne Sukol, MD, preventive medicine specialist at Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute added - "When we eat real food that nourishes us, it becomes the protein-building blocks, enzymes, brain tissue, and neurotransmitters that transfer information and signals between various parts of the brain and body."
2. It helps brain cells to grow
Few nutrients and dietary patterns may help to change in a brain protein. As a result, it will increase connections between brain cells. A solid diet rich in nutrients like omega-3s and zinc may boost levels of this substance.
3. A balanced diet fills the gut with healthy bacteria
This is very good for the brain. Trillions of good bacteria present in our gut fend off bad germs and keep our system immune from inflammation in the body. Some gut germs even help to produce brain-powering B vitamins.
These nutrients might help treat or prevent mental illness are:
B vitamins- People with low B12 levels experience brain inflammation and higher rates of depression and dementia.
Iron- Deficiency of iron in the blood may cause iron-deficiency anemia, which is linked to depression.
Omega-3s- These fatty acids may improve thinking, mood, and memory.
Zinc- Zinc helps to control how the body will react to stress. Low levels can cause depression. A good resource of zinc is a great source is oysters, which has 500% of your daily need for zinc.
A high-fat or high-sugar diet is bad for gut health and, therefore, your brain. Some research hints that a high-sugar diet may increase schizophrenia symptoms.
No matter how much you are suffering from psychological issues, a proper diet and proper exercise are the two essential parts of your treatment plan. If you are taking medicines, they are going to work faster and way better if you follow a good healthy diet plan and daily workout.
About The Author
Ralph Macey is associated with the SavantCare which is a mental health clinic, where his job is to look after those people who are suffering from chronic mental disorders. His motto is to focus on the integrated interventions to improve mental health conditions and the other alternative approaches to healing.