What we eat has a direct correlation to how we feel. Recent studies have shown that the balance of bacteria in our gut can have a significant impact on our mental health. For example, one study found that people who ate a diet high in processed foods and sugar were more likely to experience depression and anxiety than those who ate a more balanced diet.
Other studies have demonstrated that gut microbiota can influence our brains and behavior and that certain probiotic strains may be effective in treating conditions like depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. This is likely because gut bacteria produce essential neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, which regulate mood and anxiety.
Still, some studies have linked gut bacteria to various mental health conditions, including autism and schizophrenia. While we need more research to confirm these findings, there is a strong connection between gut health and mental well-being.
Our diet has an outsize impact on our mental health. As such, we must remain intentional about what we eat. Here are eight healthy food habits that will help you maintain your Wellness:
1. Drink plenty of water.
Drinking plenty of water is critical for good health. Water makes up more than 60% of the human body and is involved in every bodily function, from flushing out toxins to carrying nutrients to our cells.
Despite its importance, many people fail to drink enough water each day.
Research suggests that as many as 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
Dehydration can lead to many problems, including headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. It can also cause constipation and urinary tract infections.
To avoid these problems, it is recommended that adults drink eight glasses of water per day. While this may seem like a lot, it is relatively easy to reach this goal by adding a glass of water to your routine each day.
Not sure how much water you should be drinking? Many apps and online calculators can help you determine the right amount based on weight, activity level, and climate. They can also remind you to drink water. So there’s no excuse not to stay hydrated!
2. Eat breakfast.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it jumpstarts our metabolism and provides us with the energy we need to power through our day.
A healthy breakfast gives the body nutrients to function properly throughout the day. It might include eggs, oatmeal, fruit, or yogurt.
Skipping breakfast can lead to fatigue, low energy levels, and poor concentration. Indeed, research has shown that breakfast eaters tend to have better diets overall and are less likely to be overweight or obese. They also have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
In addition, studies show that people who eat breakfast are more likely to be successful in school and work. They have better attendance records and are more productive. In short, many good reasons to ensure you eat a healthy breakfast daily.
3. Eat mindfully.
Mindful eating means being present while we eat and paying attention to hunger cues, fullness cues, and how the food makes us feel physically and emotionally.
When we eat mindfully, we are more likely to make better food choices and be less likely to overeat or make unhealthy choices out of boredom or emotional distress.
4. Fill up on fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been linked with various health benefits, including a significantly reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.
They are also low in calories and fat.
Eating a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables may also help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and to reduce the risk of obesity. The latest research suggests that the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may extend even further.
For instance, a recent study found that people who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a lower risk of dying from any cause over a period of eight years than those who ate the least. The findings suggest that eating more fruits and vegetables may help to prolong life.
5. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet.
Healthy fats are essential to our well-being, yet many still avoid them for fear of weight gain. While it’s true that some fats can lead to weight gain, not all fats are created equal.
In fact, there are many different types of healthy fats that can actually help boost our health and encourage weight loss.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, for example, are two types of healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. You can find these beneficial fats in foods like avocados, nuts, and olive oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids are another type of healthy fat that has been shown to provide various benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving cognitive function. Salmon, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are all great sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re looking to improve your health and well-being, add some healthy fats to your diet.
6. Choose lean protein sources.
Lean protein helps us feel fuller longer because it takes our bodies longer to digest than carbohydrates.
But, to understand how eating lean protein contributes to Wellness, we must first examine the role of proteins in our bodies.
Proteins perform a wide range of functions in the body, including cell signaling, metabolism, and DNA replication.
Lean proteins contain a higher proportion of amino acids to fat and carbohydrate. Some examples of lean proteins include fish, chicken, tofu, and legumes. These proteins can help to promote health and well-being when incorporated into a diet.
For example, fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids essential for cardiovascular health. Chicken is a lean protein low in saturated fat, making it an excellent choice for those trying to maintain a healthy weight.
Tofu is high in protein and low in calories, making it an ideal food for people trying to lose weight or build muscle.
Legumes are a good source of fiber and nutrients, making them helpful for maintaining digestive health. Including lean proteins in your diet can help you to achieve your health, fitness, and wellness goals.
7. Avoid processed foods.
According to recent research, a diet heavy in processed foods has been linked to several health problems. Studies have shown that people who eat a lot of processed foods are more likely to be overweight or obese and at greater risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Processed foods are usually high in calories, salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats, and they often lack essential nutrients like fiber and vitamins.
In addition, many processed foods are made with ingredients that may harm our health, such as artificial additives and preservatives. For these reasons, limit the amount of processed food you eat and focus on eating more whole, unprocessed foods.
8. Limit alcohol intake.
Alcohol can be damaging to our health if consumed in excess. It can cause weight gain, dehydration, and organ damage. If you choose to drink alcohol, moderation is key. Limit yourself to one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.
By following these healthy food habits, you will be well on your way to maintaining your overall Wellness. Start by incorporating one or two of these habits into your daily routine’ and build from there. Before long, you will develop healthier eating habits that will help you feel your best every day.