Have you ever thought how changing your diet and exercise routine could help your internal being? We choose to be healthy for many reasons such as weight loss, to increase life expectancy, and cut the risk for future disease. But can being healthy make us happy? For years, studies have arose on how physical & mental health are fundamentally connected.
Start with what goes into your body. Nutrition influences the structure and functioning of the brain cells, says naturopathic doctor Alan Logan. Food = Mood. His best advice: stick with whole food. Whole food is food that retains its natural composition and contains no artificial additives or preservatives. Processed foods have had their natural composition altered in some way, adding ultra-processed elements like oils, sugars, dyes, and artificial agents to preserve freshness. According to a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found those who ate the “Mediterranean diet” rich in olive oil, fish, and veggies have shown 30% less depressive symptoms that who’s who didn’t follow the diet as strictly. For example, monosaturated fatty acid (found in olive oil), which helps serotonin bind to receptors, and Omega 3’s (found in fish), improve cell function, and when balanced in a healthy diet, have been proven to assist with making you happier. Researchers have also found that people who switched from eating almost no fruit & vegetables to 8 servings a day, experienced increase in life satisfaction equivalent to someone unemployed finding a job.
Not only is it important to monitor what goes into your body, physical activity is crucial to a healthy wellbeing. Exercise improves the way your body works. It can make you look better, feel better and even live longer. Physical activity contributes to health by reducing the heart rate, decreasing the risk for many diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, and reducing the amount of bone loss that is associated with age and osteoporosis. According to Mayo Clinic, exercise also helps reduce anxiety and improve mood. During a work-out, your body releases “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin, your body temperature rises, which promotes a calming effect, and it reduces chemicals in the immune system that may cause depressive symptoms. When miles of running doesn’t fit into your daily schedule, they say a brisk walk or even gardening can do the trick. Essentially, exercising benefits us physically and mentally.
Now, like exercise, rest and relaxation play a vital role in good health and well-being throughout our life. Sleep helps your brain work properly. Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise the risk for some chronic health problems. Even though you’re sleeping, your brain is working to prepare you for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Sleep is an important role in your physical health, involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. It can also affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others. In Canada, a study reveals 25% of people over the age of 15 have trouble getting to sleep. 3.3 million Canadians suffer from insomnia, which is causing high levels of stress. That being said, not enough sleep leads to depression. Contrarily, more sleep actually makes you happier and healthier.
Many factors play into our health and wellness. It’s amazing that by altering something as simple as our diet, we can see vast changes in our own thoughts and feelings. Be healthy, and be happy 🙂