Good nutrition is essential for everyone, especially if you want to become fitter and healthier and even improve your performance in the gym. You may have taken advantage of local fitness club offers to kickstart your training, and now you are wondering about the nutrition side of things.
Have you ever heard the statement; ‘you are what you eat’? Well it’s about time you started to take it seriously because it is 100% true. Look at it this way, everything you put into your body is utilized by your cells. If you are taking in vitamins from your food your body uses them for all sorts such as repairing your immune system.
But what happens when you take in processed foods and chemicals? That’s another story! The fact is you really are what you eat. Your body and brain relies on what you consume to keep functioning properly but in this article we are going to focus on what poor nutrition can do to your brain by looking at some of the most commonly asked questions. Look into some of your closest fitness offers in Dubai, lock down your fitness and lock down your nutrition! Are you ready?
Why should I take vitamins?
Don’t take your vitamins? You could be susceptible to depression & OCD. Studies have found that the most prevalent mental health issues are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder in many Asian and American countries. It has been found that they are often deficient in many nutrients, especially essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Why should I consume more protein?
Protein is the building block of your muscles. Therefore, eating adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth when you do strength training. Protein is also a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen throughout your body in your blood.
What else is protein good for?
Protein fights anxiety! It's been discovered that the building blocks of protein (amino acids) tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and methionine are often very useful in treating many mood disorders including depression and anxiety. When consumed alone on an empty stomach, tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, is usually converted to serotonin. Hence, tryptophan can induce sleep and tranquillity. If you haven’t been getting enough protein in your diet then maybe it's time you started following a structured food plan to ensure you are getting all the protein you require – your brain needs it!
Why should I drink more water?
Are you drinking enough water? You could be shrinking your brain! Most of us live in a state of dehydration and don’t even know it! Are you getting 8 glasses a day? Studies have shown that if you are only 1 per cent dehydrated, you will likely have a 5 per cent decrease in cognitive function.
If your brain drops 2 per cent in body water, you may suffer from fuzzy short-term memory, experience problems with focusing, and have trouble with math computations.
What’s even scarier is that prolonged dehydration is also a known factor in dementia and proper hydration may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Moral of the story – always drink your water!
Can I still drink alcohol and lose weight?
Alcohol makes you want to eat MORE! Have you ever been on a night out and been so ready for a pizza or kebab after?
This is a proven effect of alcohol – it makes you hungry! If you are hungry you are more likely to binge on naughty foods!
A Canadian study once found that alcohol consumed before a meal increased caloric intake to a far greater extent than did a carbohydrate drink. If you are dining out try to limit alcohol intake and damage limitate. If weight loss is your goal then you should seriously consider ditching alcohol altogether.
Why is sugar bad for me?
Consuming too much added sugar increases heart disease risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation. High-sugar diets have been linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
Limit sugar – your brain will thank you. Your brain can become addicted to sugar and the effects of a sugar addiction can be as strong as those of a hard drug addiction.
Processed foods and sugary sweets and treats are packed full of a variety of additives, which can affect your brain function and mental state, especially artificial sweeteners. Research has indicated a diet rich in processed foods is also linked to an increased risk of depression.
Can exercise help my mental health?
The answer here is a great big YES! Exercise is one of the best things you could ever do for your mental wellbeing. Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
Other than being fitter, what can good nutrition and regular exercise do for me?
You can enjoy improved quality sleep – Fancy getting a great night's sleep? Exercise will give you just that! Let's not forget quality sleep is vital for your overall health. Regular activity can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and wake feeling more energetic and refreshed.
Enjoy a more positive mood and improved self-confidence - Exercise is a huge stress reliever and the endorphins produced can actually help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident.
Exercise does amazing things for your brain. Activities like Sudoku or crossword puzzles can help keep your brain active, but little comes close to the beneficial effects of exercise on the brain. It can help brain functions as diverse as multitasking and creativity and can help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Getting active may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
One of the most neglected factors in mental health is nutrition. It is a long and complex topic and we have merely scratched the surface. It's all too prevalent that drug companies are supplying meds for every issue going but what we need to do is look at our own diet and nutrition first.
After all – nature does provide everything we need for optimal nutrition and health. Hopefully you will now take more care to look after your brain and nutrition.