There were times when carbohydrates were considered as fitness, health and weight loss enemies. And then with so much information around and trends changing from day to day; one day they are healthy, the next they aren’t.
So, how do you know what to believe and what to not?
There is one fact that remains unchanged throughout is that our body needs all the nutrients in our diet. And protein, fats, and carbohydrates being a part of the major macronutrients, they are equally essential for our body to stay healthy and active.
When we talk about carbs, they are a much larger food group that goes beyond bread and pizzas.
Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibres found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products, often maligned in trendy diets. The dietary fibres are also a type of carbohydrate found in foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They are necessary to maintain a normal weight and healthy heart and to keep your digestive system regular.
The body uses carbohydrates to produce glucose which is the fuel that gives you energy and helps keep everything going.
So if we jump to the conclusion, carbohydrates are important for a healthy body and weight loss both. Let’s dig deeper and learn more about the myths surrounding carbohydrates.
Carbs make you fat
Yes, carbs are fattening. And if you are on to consuming calorie-dense foods like potato chips and soda, you will become fat. But carbohydrates are beyond soda and chips.
Instead, foods with complex carbs like whole-wheat bread, beans, and fruits contain more fibre and have lots of other nutrients which are important for maintaining a healthy weight.
Our bodies don’t need carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are of various types. Glucose, a type of carbohydrate, is important for the functioning of kidneys, liver, brain and every organ system in the body. The body uses glucose for energy and stores excess glucose as glycogen. This glycogen is used by the body during fasting or exercising.
This is the reason that the body needs glucose.
Low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight
With low-carb diets, people see fast results and therefore these diets have become popular. However, according to many pieces of research, long-term low-carb diets are not sustainable.
Low-carb diet cut out large groups of vegetables, fruits and grains which deprives the body of getting enough vital nutrients to manage the weight effectively.
On the contrary, low-carb diets can increase the risk of micronutrient deficiencies and constipation due to their low fibre content.
Fruits are high in carbs and should be avoided
Fruits are important as part of a healthy diet. Fruits contain fibre, which helps with weight control and digestive health, as well as many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Fruit contains carbohydrates in the form of natural sugar, which is much different than processed sugars. Processed sugar is what contributes to weight gain and increases the risk of chronic diseases.
Thanks to on-and-off diets trends, the fruit has also gotten bad media. People often say that fruit has too much sugar in it. Yet, along with a natural form of sugar, called fructose, the fruit is full of nutrients that our bodies need.
Eating more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing diabetes, along with other chronic diseases.
Carbohydrates are difficult to digest
Although certain categories of food are higher in fibre can make the digestive system’s work hard, all carbs do not fall under this category and therefore should not stop you from consuming them regularly.
Foods that have a higher content of insoluble fibre are more difficult to digest and can cause an upset stomach.
However, soluble fibres that are found in whole grains, bananas, and certain vegetables like cucumbers, can the digestive system back on track.
So, after clarifying these misconceptions around carbohydrates, jumping to the conclusion that carbohydrates are important for a healthy body would not be wrong.
We just need to know the carbs which are essential for our body like whole grains, fruits, and beans and are great ways to meet fibre, vitamin and mineral needs and maintain a healthy body.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, strong immunity and good health have been on top of everyone’s list. Since there was no cure for the disease, maintaining a proper healthy and fit lifestyle was the only way to fight against it.
This was the time when centuries-old wisdom of Ayurveda was reintroduced in everyone’s life for strengthening the immunity and avoiding getting sick. And, with clinical trials and research, Ayurveda got a global level recognition in the fight against COVID-19.
What is Ayurveda?
Developed more than 5000 years ago, Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing methods. In our country, it has been one of the methods of treating various diseases since ancient times.
The literal meaning of Ayurveda is “knowledge of life”. The concept of this healing method is based on the balance between mind, body, and soul. Although the treatment is intended towards curing specific health issues, the main objective of Ayurveda is to maintain good overall health and well-being.
History of Ayurveda
The historical roots of this alternative medicine system come from the Indian subcontinent which has been recorded to be more than 5,000 years old. If we dig deep into the origin of this holistic healing methodology, Ayurved is believed to come from Dhanvantari, the physician to the gods in Hindu mythology.
Ayurved has its mention in Sanskrit, in the four sacred Vedas: the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda, and Atharva Veda. The earliest concepts were set out in the portion of the Atharvaveda.
The Vedas are rich in magical practices for the treatment of diseases. It recommends numerous herbs for the treatment of fever (takman), cough, constipation, diarrhoea, dropsy (generalized oedema), seizures, tumours, and skin diseases (including leprosy).
Dhanvantari, who introduced Ayurveda to the world, is today worshipped as the patron God of all branches of medical science. Ayurved was further popularised, taught and handed down generations by his disciples. Among those, Sushruta, the ancient Indian surgeon famous for his pioneering operations and techniques, was foremost.
The rishis were given this knowledge of Ayurveda to make them learn to stay physically and emotionally healthy to pursue their deeper spiritual goals.
Future of Ayurveda
The world’s oldest recorded system of healthcare has influenced many other systems of medicine within and outside India. These include Traditional Chinese Medicine, Siddha, Unani along with various types of massage therapy.
Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic has also reminded the world of the importance of good health and strong and resilient immune systems. While effective and curative medicines are indispensable in fighting such aggressive viruses, the best defence lies within our bodies. And therefore, the world is witnessing a rebirth of this ancient system of health promotion, disease prevention and treatment.
Besides, people outside of India are also showing interest in the resurgence of indigenous knowledge that has transformative potential to heal mental and physical ailments.
Overall, Ayurveda has great potential to be revived for modern applications all over the world, particularly if more research is done on it.
Benefits of Ayurveda
Ayurveda offers extensive therapies and remedies for the young, old, sick, healthy, and everyone in between. Some of the primary benefits that the consistent use of Ayurveda offer are:
Preventive Care – The best way to combat disease is to stay well in the first place. By adapting the diets and lifestyles according to the body’s unique constitutions, helps in maintaining good health and staying disease-free.
Improved Quality of Life – Ayurveda is a choice of lifestyle, which when adopted in its entirety, brings a wave of general well-being to your daily life. Exercising, having an active lifestyle, adequate sun exposure, appropriate treatments and emotional well-being helps to cleanse the mind and spirit.
Stress-Free Life – With the right diet and lifestyle, Ayurveda alleviates stress. Waking up early before the sun rises is said to provide peace of mind. Meditation helps you stay relaxed and reduces stress hormones. Having herbal beverages that have stress-reducing properties will keep the mind calm and reduce anxiety.
Balanced Hormones – Ayurveda helps in keeping the hormones balanced leaving a powerful effect on many of our bodies’ basic processes. From regulating hunger to influencing our reproductive systems, balanced hormones help in keeping the mood, weight and sleeping patterns in check.
Success of Ayurved in dealing with Lifestyle Challenges
While the conventional treatment methods treat specific symptoms with quick results, Ayurveda works on the theory that all disorders, whether physical or mental, result from an imbalance of physical and psychological elements in the body. Therefore, according to ayurvedic practitioners, effective treatment lies only in a holistic approach.
The holistic approach of Ayurveda targeted toward complete physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being makes this science a wonderful option in lifestyle challenges.
Ayurveda for Mental Health
Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to mental health that integrates the mind, body and soul. It has proven to produce significant results as a complementary treatment method in disorders such as depression, anxiety and OCD.
This alternative medicine system recommends traditional dietary and lifestyle habits along with yogic exercises and herbal treatment. It offers a complex array of therapeutic techniques and natural medicines to restore balance and harmony.
Ayurveda for Immunity
There are various aspects which cause low immunity in the body including stress, poor mental health, overuse of antibiotics, metabolic disorders, lifestyle (lack of exercise) and poor diet.
According to the science of ayurveda, the body’s overall capacity can be strengthened through good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, proper sleep, and adequate exercise.
Ayurveda advises consuming pure herbs as well as polyherbal compositions. These immunomodulatory preparations help in enhancing the body’s natural ability to overcome infections. Besides, these drugs are also said to have additional health benefits, such as rejuvenation, anti-stress, promotes intelligence, memory, and cognitive wellness, and promotes vigour, vitality, and positive health.
Ayurveda calls for complete harmony of the body with the elements of nature and the surrounding environment for a stress-free and healthy life. It does not merely deal with medical science but its scope goes much beyond the universe of conventional science.
Your progress toward balance and health is proportional to how well you stick to the guidelines of diet and lifestyle.
A healthy diet requires all the nutrients in the optimum quantity as required for healthy functioning of the body. Any nutrient below or above the required amount can make this functioning, a difficult process.
Of all the nutrients that your body needs, protein is the most important for good health and fitness. Unlike the micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, protein is a macronutrient which is required in large amount to stay healthy.
What is Protein?
Protein is said to be the building block of a human body and is a component of every cell in the body including hair and nails.
Along with Carbohydrates and Fats, Proteins is one of the primary macronutrients that provides the most of the energy to the body. This macronutrient is made up of amino acids which a human body can produce on its own.
Importance of Protein
Besides building bones, and body tissues, protein plays an important role in metabolic reactions, immune response, providing energy to the body, assisting the body in cellular repair, forming blood cells, and more.
Protein is a vital macronutrient for growth and development in young children as well.
Since protein is the component of every cell in our body, not getting enough protein in your diet can cause many health issues.
Sources of Protein
The amount of essential amino acids defines the nutritional value of a protein. The content of amino acids is different in different foods.
Animal products are ideally high-quality ‘complete’ protein containing all of the essential amino acids. Chicken, beef or fish and dairy products are all forms of animal protein.
Besides, soybean products, quinoa and amaranth also have all of the essential amino acids.
On the other hand, Plant proteins including beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains usually do not contain all the essential amino acids and therefore are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.
People who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet usually have difficulty fulfilling their regular protein requirement. They need to choose a variety of protein sources from a combination of plant foods to ensure an adequate mix of essential amino acids.
Below is the list of food items which are high in protein:
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Lean Beef
- Pumpkin Seeds
Supplementing Protein to Fulfill Body’s Requirement
To help improve muscle protein synthesis and promote the growth of lean muscle mass, athletes and fitness professionals many times need to use supplements of the nutrients alongside their resistance exercise. In that case, protein powder is a popular nutritional supplement.
There are many benefits of protein powder:
- Improve muscle size and strength in healthy adults who perform resistance exercise training.
- Reduce muscle damage and improve muscle performance and muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults who perform resistance exercise training.
- Elderly people, people with a chronic illness, athletes and weightlifters may need to exceed the general protein intake on a recommendation.
Types of Protein Supplements
Whey Protein – Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, the liquid part of milk separated from the solid curds during the process of making cheese.
Whey protein provides enough amounts of the essential amino acids as required by the body to carry out the functions that proteins perform in the body. It is normally taken by people to improve athletic performance or meet nutritional deficiencies.
Once the whey is from curd, it is further processed to become whey protein powder that can be added to shakes, meals or protein bars.
Soy Protein – Soy protein isolate is naturally high in protein but very low in carbohydrates. This form of protein supplement has been shown as a source of lean, cholesterol-free and lactose-free protein which aids health needs across the lifespan.
Protein Isolates – Protein is extracted from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes to produce protein concentrates. These concentrates normally contain 60–80% protein and remaining 20–40% fat and carbs. On additional filtering, these fats and carbs are removed to form protein isolate powders which contain about 90–95% protein.
A healthy diet is crucial to maintain an active lifestyle. So, you must eat a variety of foods even to meet your body’s nutritional requirement.
Out of all the nutrients that your body needs, protein helps your body in repairing the cells and making new ones. It is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.
While protein is an important nutrient, other nutrients are equally important to maintaining good health. So, talk to your nutrition expert and ensure a healthy and optimum supply of all the nutrients in your body.
Another diet in trend, vegan diet focusses on plant-based foods and beverages and excludes all animal products. Vegan diet has garnered immense popularity in last few years.
Veganism means the completely removing all animal and animal-based foods from your diet. Apparently, if followed correctly, vegan diet can prove to be highly nutritious, effective weight loss diet which can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
However, it is not easy to go 100% vegan even for Indian vegetarians. Besides, there are many nutrients which lack in this plant-based diet like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, fatty acids, iodine etc.
So, it is important to research and understand the pros and cons before shifting to vegan-only diet.
Advantages of vegan diet
- It aids weight loss
- It reduces the risks of serious diseases
- It is environmentally sustainable diet
- It encourages mindful eating
- It has more variety of foods
Disadvantages of vegan diet
- It may lead to nutrient deficiencies
- It is difficult to dine out with vegan diet
- It requires dedicated efforts
- It is difficult to meet the requirement of proteins
- It can prove to be complicated in following
You cannot expect miracles from vegan diet. It takes its own time to show its benefits according to your body.
Talk to a nutritionist before shifting to vegan-only diet. They can suggest you to take dietary supplements to avoid any nutritional deficiencies.
Not every diet works for everyone. So everyone needs a diet customised according to their own body requirement. Similarly, following a vegan diet can also go wrong for some individuals.
Besides, any diet that involves eliminating a certain type of foods can be difficult to follow. Think and process!
When trying to lose weight, you likely have some type of goal in mind. Figuring out how much weight you want to lose is the first step on a new weight loss journey.
There are many different ways to come up with a long-term goal that’s both realistic and aspirational. Setting your sights on the future can help fuel the motivation needed to make healthy changes.
Here’s how to get started.
Set realistic goals
Set specific short-term goals to maintain motivation. If you’ve got a nebulous goal, then your efforts seem like an endless mission.
Also, do not set a specific weight goal tied to the scale. That’s because your weight is affected by lots of variables, including how much muscle you have, how much fluid you’re retaining and how depleted your carbohydrate stores are.
Set a sensible timeline
Losing half to one kg per week is a realistic expectation. You can lose a lot of scale weight fast with a crash diet. But that’s not fat loss, and it’s not permanent.
It’s also important to consider you may gain muscle while losing fat. It’s important to look at weight trends over time, and focus on comparing average weights over several months rather than across days or weeks.
Measure your progress continuously
Aside from scale weight, it’s important to have other ways to see if you’re getting closer to your goals. Don’t go off-scale weight so much as body fat percentage. If you don’t have access to a body fat scanner, using the fit of your clothes and taking tape measurements can be good fat-loss indicators.
Think beyond weight loss
Setting non-weight loss goals may also help speed your progress. People who have health-related goals tend to succeed faster than those who have aesthetic-related goals.
There are always exceptions, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but it’s easier to maintain motivation long term when your health is on the line.
That’s one of the reasons there should be multiple goals when trying to lose fat. If you’re only focused on the number on the scale, you’ll miss out on all the other benefits of exercise and healthy eating.
Additional weight loss goals to consider
- Improving sleep
- Improving posture
- Increasing strength
- Reducing blood pressure
- Building better confidence and self-esteem
Considering what you can maintain long term is also an important part of setting a realistic weight-loss goal. For most people, the notion of losing weight is daunting. It’s also largely something many of us have considered but not been able to sustain, for a variety of reasons.
Approaching weight loss from a more comprehensive perspective enables you to get in tune with the aspects that have contributed to weight gain in the first place.
Changing your diet will always be a great step in the right direction but to truly optimize well-being, attention needs to be given to other areas, too.
Losing weight is one of the most common health goals. However, without the right guidance it can also become the most difficult to achieve goal.
The ever-changing diet trends which people tend to follow without understanding the technicalities behind them, tend to do more harm than any good to your body.
However, whichever method of weight loss program you follow, there are some basic does and don’ts which you need to understand in order to make your weight loss program to be effective.
Quick fixes never works
Quick weight loss may sound tempting, but it can be unhealthy in the long-term. The goal should be healthier, safer, and longer-lasting weight loss which takes its own time. Take a proper diet and do regular exercise to give your body the natural time to change for better.
Consume complex carbs
Carbohydrates, being the source of energy, affects your physical and mental performance. Therefore, it is always advisable to load up on carbohydrates before rigorous workouts or physical activity.
However, simple carbohydrates can disrupt your metabolism of fat increasing the fat content in your body. Therefore it is important to eat complex carbohydrates.
Take enough protein
The food for muscle building, protein is responsible for repair, maintenance and growth of muscle cells. Besides, the amino acids in proteins form enzymes required for smooth running of your body.
Consume unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats
Unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lowers the cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease. Besides foods that have higher content of saturated fats are also high in essential fatty acids which is beneficial for the human body.
Avoid processed foods
When natural food items are processed or refined, they lose much of the fibre and nutrients in the process. Moreover, some processed foods can actually harm the body. That is the reason, it is advised to take complex carbohydrates since they do not rush through your system and overwhelm it.
Manage salt intake
Salt is an essential mineral; if we do not get enough of it, our health and athletic performance will be affected. However, if we consume too much of it, our health will also be damaged.
Besides causing serious health problems such as high blood pressure, taking too much salt will also upset our bodies’ water balance, which can slow us down.
As most of our diets are already too high in salt, we need to cut back on seasoning our food and on our consumption of packaged (canned or preserved) food.
Avoid junk food
Fast food often contains too much sugar, saturated fats, cholesterol and salt. Most fast-food products have very little to offer in terms of complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Do we need more reasons to avoid them?
It is all about changing your habits so you can reach your best body in terms of health, first, and then looks. It goes without saying that there are many different healthy body types out there. So, stop comparing yourself and just learn what works best for you and how to take care of YOUR body!
The human body requires micronutrients like vitamins and minerals for its growth and fitness. Since the body cannot produce these nutrients on its own, they have to be consumed through the diet.
When we eat food containing these nutrients, our body absorbs it and supplies it to the entire body to help it grow. When our body does not get the nutrients it requires, it leads to nutritional deficiency. This deficiency leads to health problems like digestion, skin problems, and even dementia.
In this article, we have shared some of the symptoms of the most common nutritional deficiencies. Read on and find out if your body is showing any of these symptoms.
Hair, skin and nails problems
Dull and damaged hair, dry wrinkled skin or brittle nails can be all signs of nutrition deficiency. One major nutrient responsible for this is protein. Protein is the building block of our body. Our bones, muscles, skin, hair, and nails all contain protein and that is the reason the insufficient supply of protein can cause problems in many parts of the body.
Besides, deficiency of fatty acids like Omega-6 can also lead to dry, flakey, itchy, or cracked skin. Other symptoms of fatty acids include dandruff, hair loss, and dry eyes.
Weakness and fatigue
If you feel tired and exhausted even after taking rest, it is a sign of magnesium deficiency. If you are constantly feeling weak and drained out, you need to include some magnesium in your diet.
You can provide magnesium to your body by consuming seeds and nuts including almonds, peanuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds etc.
The paleness in the skin occurs when the blood losses its colour. This happens due to low levels of haemoglobin in your red blood cells which makes the skin, nails and gums lose their natural, healthy colour making it look pale. When the body does not get the required amount of iron, the level of haemoglobin in the body goes down. You need to consume an iron-rich diet or take iron supplements.
Unexpected weight gain
Unexpected weight gain is a sign of iodine deficiency. Iodine produces thyroid hormones which help in controlling metabolism. Insufficient amounts of iodine will make your body burn fewer calories and store fats.
If you are experiencing vision or eyesight challenges, it can be due to deficiency of vitamin A in your body. Lack of the vitamins deteriorates your night vision and the sharpness of your sight over time.
A diet rich in vitamin A, including milk, eggs, mangos, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes and apricots can help in keeping your vision sharp. If you are not able to meet the requirement through your diet, you can also take supplements.
The treatment for these deficiencies is fairly simple if diagnosed on time. So it is important to keep identifying the changes that your body goes through.
There has been enough said about the importance of food for our overall health and fitness. There is nothing new to convey that consuming a healthy, balanced diet and staying away from junk and processed foods are the primary requirement of a healthy body.
However, if you think that eating healthy-looking food will ensure a healthy body, you need to be a little more thoughtful and careful in that direction. Everything that glows, is not gold. And gold is not easy to get. It will surprise you that all so-called healthy foods can be full of adulterants that can do more harm than any good.
These adulterants added to healthy food can pave the way for various diseases and disorders. The increasing use of pesticides and fertilizers in growing fruits and vegetables is one common example of food adulteration and its harm to our body.
Moreover, the water that we drink has also not been spared from the adulteration of adding chemicals to either clean it and make it look crystal clear.
It is therefore important to be very careful of this bad practice. We have listed here a few food safety tips that will ensure that you do not fall prey to the malicious adulterants.
Being a little watchful for unwanted ingredients can prevent you from many diseases and disorders.
Be careful of what you buy
Ensure FSSAI-validated labels on the food items that you buy. There should be FSSAI license number, detailed list of ingredients and clearly written manufacturing and expiry date.
FSSAI license ensures the food item is rightly checked for health benefits. You can avoid buying loose package products wherever possible.
Don’t get manipulated by false claims
Every healthy ingredient put into making any packaged food item does not guarantee the health of the overall package. Many times, food manufacturers ‘claim’ of alternate, ‘healthier’ options. These alternate options may do more harm to the body than good. For example, ingredients used in artificial sweeteners are more harmful than natural sugars.
Do a deeper study
This can be in the case where you have made sure of everything going behind the scenes. Check for the source from where the raw material is coming from. If you see things are being prepared right in front of you and claim to be fresh, the ingredients that are used in making this fresh and hot item like oil for frying, food colouring, can be harmful to health.
As mentioned earlier, food adulteration is an open secret. However, with so much information available online, making healthier food choices is not difficult. Look for authenticated, researched tested and proven products for a healthier life.
Weight loss is not a very difficult process when you follow the dieting way. It’s a simple and straight formula – eat less and gain less. No food, no fat. However, during the process, you may achieve your desired weight but may not necessarily achieve fitness. Along with your desired weight, you also get dull skin, improper digestion, hair fall and weak body.
It is therefore very important to lose weight the right way. Besides giving you a slimmer body, the right way of weight loss gives you many other benefits.
But, what is the right way of losing weight?
The ideal way to lose weight is by eating the right food, burning the right amount of calorie. And that’s where the famous 80-20 weight loss rule comes into play.
What is the 80-20 rule for weight loss?
The 80-20 rule for weight loss gives 80% weightage to your diet and 20% to exercising and working out. However, this has mostly been mistaken the other way round giving 80% to exercise and 20% to food. But this is not true!
It is important to understand that without the right nutrition, your weight loss will do more loss to your body. And it is no big secret that nutrition plays a big role in your healthy weight loss journey.
According to the 80-20 rule for weight loss, nutritious diet and right exercise complement each other to give you the desired result. Eat right, burn right and let the both of it do the magic on your body. And of course, this is a scientifically proven method for a healthy and sustainable weight loss.
How to follow the 80-20 weight loss rule?
When we say 80% of weight loss depends upon what you eat, you need to understand what to eat in that 80%. This 80% should be the right combination of all the nutrients that your body needs including proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals, fibre and carbs.
How to ensure 80% nutrition in everyday meals?
Know what you feed your body with. Fill your plate each of the above nutrients in the right amount. Understand the importance of each of these and the role they play in your healthy weight loss journey.
- Proteins – Proteins are the building blocks of your body
- Minerals and Vitamins – Vitamins and minerals build immunity
- Carbohydrates – For a fully functional healthy body
- Fats – Healthy fats take care of your energy and functioning
- Fibre – Takes care of your gut and digestion process
To ensure you consume all of the above in the right amount, you can also take help of nutrition supplements that besides supplying the right amount of nourishment to your body, also aids in the weight loss process.
The 80-20 rule is important to achieve healthy body weight without compromising on fitness. On the contrary, this 80-20 weight loss formula manages your overall body fitness and with the right 80% of the food, you can lead a better active lifestyle.
Eating a well-balanced diet which is rich in nutrients will not only do good to your body but it will also affect how you feel. What you eat directly affects how you feel. Your food affects your brain and your brain decides your mood. So, your food decides your mood.
Besides helping you in keeping a healthy body weight and a healthy heart, a nutritious diet also helps to elevate your mood and feel good about yourself. According to studies, people who do not have healthy eating habits are more likely to suffer mental health issues like anxiety, depression etc.
Moreover, your emotional well-being is associated with some of the nutrients found in food. Nutrients like folic acid, tryptophan, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin D and B vitamins all help in mood elevation and are part of a healthy diet.
How your diet impacts your mental health
Although nutrition does not cure your mental health, studies and researches show the effect of healthy eating on a healthy mind. Let’s see how good nutrition impacts your mental health.
Nutrients are essential for brain development.
As the cliche goes, we are, what we eat. When you eat a nutritious, healthy diet, it gets converted into enzymes, brain tissue and neurotransmitters. These help the brain to transmit information and signals to other parts of the body. This is how a diet rich in protein and enzymes helps develop a healthy brain.
Nutrients improve brain cell connection.
A healthy diet rich in nutrients like omega-3s and zinc is responsible for changes in a brain protein which improves the connections between brain cells. Whereas, refined sugar and saturated fats harm brain proteins. So, it is important to keep a check on the consumption of refined sugar and saturated fats.
It keeps the gut full of healthy bacteria good for the brain.
Our gut is filled with millions and trillions of good bacteria that fights with the bad germs and keep our immunity high. These bacteria keep a check on inflammation in the body which affects your mood and mental well-being.
A nutritious diet for the brain works the same way as for heart-health or healthy weight management. High-fat or processed foods or a diet high in sugar does the same harm to the brain as they do to the heart and body weight. Go for a diet rich in nutrition like vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruits.
Here are some of the nutrients that can help keep good brain health:
- B vitamins – Deficiency of Vitamin B12 triggers brain inflammation. Similarly, deficiency of folate may trigger low moods.
- Iron – Deficiency of iron also called anaemia may cause depression.
- Omega-3s – Omega-3 fatty acids improve memory, mood and mind.
- Zinc – Zinc helps in fighting stress. Deficiency of zinc may lead to depression.
Therefore, it is important to focus on your diet and nutrition intake for better mental health.