In a world where we face daily stress and challenges, maintaining a healthy state of mind can be a daunting task, so it’s important to make a conscious effort to look after our mental well-being amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There is a need to choose a holistic approach to health, which includes both physical and mental aspects, as these two go hand in hand for a happier and healthier life.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, nutritionist Nupuur Patil talked about why moving your body is important and said: Physical activity does more than just help you look fit; it also improves your mental health. Regular exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, and reduces stress hormones. Activities such as jogging, swimming or cycling increase blood flow to the brain and stimulate the release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
She also added that building muscle can increase confidence and self-esteem, contributing to a positive self-image and overall mental well-being. Indulging in mind-body exercises such as yoga, tai chi and pilates combine physical activity with mindfulness techniques, reducing stress and improving mental clarity. In addition, deep breathing exercises and meditation are valuable tools to combat anxiety and stress.
Pro tip: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, take time for self-care, such as enjoying a warm bath, reading a book, or spending time in nature, to rejuvenate your mind and soul.
Speaking about social connections, Nupuur Patil said: Loneliness and social isolation can have a detrimental effect on mental health. The cure is cultivating strong relationships, connecting with friends and family, and seeking support when needed. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a trusted person can provide comfort during difficult times.
What to eat for stable mental health?
Nupuur Patil suggested, “The saying, ‘you are what you eat,’ has more truth than you think when it comes to mental health. Nutrient-rich foods play an important role in brain function and mood regulation. Including a balanced and long diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats can have a profound effect on your mental health. Foods like salmon, walnuts and flaxseed are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.”
In addition, she added, complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, can help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide a steady source of energy, reducing mood swings. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which can help fight oxidative stress associated with mental health disorders. A growing number of studies have established a link between mental health and gut health. Incorporating probiotics through foods like yogurt or fermented vegetables can promote a healthy gut microbiome (the microbes found in our gut), positively affecting mood and cognition.
She concluded that taking care of our mental health is just as important as our physical health. By nourishing our bodies with the right foods, staying active, practicing mindfulness, cultivating social connections and seeking professional advice when needed, we can pave the way to a happier and healthier life. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help and that small, consistent changes in our lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in our mental well-being.
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