Tag Archives: nutrition

Mental Health Series Pt. VI: Food.

Did you know that the foods you eat can actually affect your mind? Yes, it’s true. Not only do the foods you eat affect you physically, but they also can affect your thinking and mental health. As I’ve posted about before, each facet of us is connected. The functioning of our body affects our mind, and vice versa. It’s so crucial to follow a diet with good nutrition.

Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function. These studies even found that symptoms of depression worsened on this high-sugar diet! Many parents can attest to the mood changes when their child ingests sugar or artificial food colorings. Even adults can attest to their mood changes or changes to their focus with certain foods (or larger amounts of certain foods). When a person’s brain isn’t getting the proper fuel, it can’t function. It is similar to filling a car with the wrong type of gasoline. The car won’t function correctly. It will eventually break down. It’s the same with your brain; the wrong types of fuel are going to cause things to go awry.

maarten-van-den-heuvel-400626.jpg
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Below is a list of foods that I’ve found in my research that can help your brain functioning, and so help your mental health:

1) Fish (fatty). Our brains are made up mostly of fat, which the body cannot create on its own. Our need for omega-3 fatty acids must be met in our diet. A few examples of fish that are good for this are: salmon, sardines, and mackerel.

2) Leafy greens. B vitamin deficiency has been discovered to have links with depression. These greens contain B vitamins and trace nutrients found in soil, which are lacking in the diets of many people.

3) Fermented foods. These foods can include kimchi, yogurt, pickled vegetables, and others. Your body needs “good” bacteria. These healthy bacteria have been found to reduce stress hormones, as well as anxiety!

4) Lean proteins. These can include chicken, eggs, beans, and, once again, fish. These foods can help keep serotonin (a hormone that helps you to feel happy) levels balanced.

Below is an intriguing video by a clinical psychologist, if you’d like to hear more about the link between mental health and nutrition.

This was the last post in the mental health series! I do hope that you found some useful tip(s) or thoughts in the posts. Please know that you are not alone and you are LOVED in whatever struggles you may be facing!

Past posts from the series:

Mental Health Series Pt. 1: Relationships

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling

Mental Health Series Pt. III: Faith

Mental Health Series Pt. IV: Higher Education

Mental Health Series Pt. V: Finance

Advertisements

Air, Tires, and Balance.

Today I went to fill my car’s tires with air. The temperature around here has fluctuated a lot, which can cause changes in tire pressure. The optimal

doli0tqgbac-janko-ferlic.jpg
unsplash.com (not my car!)

measurement of my tires (PSI) is 32. Each tire was off by about 5 PSI. I was shocked when I came to the last one. The starting measurement was 12–20 points off where it should have been! All sorts of problems can happen when tire pressure is off. The way in which the tires drive becomes imbalanced, which can cause uneven wear on tires. It can affect gas mileage, causing you to spend more money and pollute the environment even more. In a bad case, it can even cause a tire blowout. This would be very dangerous. (Thank You, God, that I could fill all my tires today & hopefully avoid some sort of accident or adverse affect.)

I thought about our balance as humans. We may not even realize how off balance we are. We may be running but we are not running well. This can happen for many reasons. Imbalance in one area causes us to be off-balance in all the other areas.

  • Do you need more food that is nourishing to your specific body?
  • Are you lacking warm, positive relationships in your life?
  • Do you need to spend more time with the positive people in your life?
  • Are you struggling with bad habits that perpetually hold you back and leave you frustrated with yourself?
  • Has it been too long since you enjoyed one of your hobbies or creative outlets?
  • Do you feel distant from God and so are distancing yourself from prayer or Scripture?
  • Are financial troubles causing you stress?
  • Have news outlets, media, and current events drained you emotionally or left you angry and disillusioned?
  • Is there just too much on your plate right now?

Perhaps you are feeling off-balance. Or perhaps you are off-balance but haven’t taken the time to realize that’s what’s going on.

Take some time. Pray. Evaluate the different areas of your life. Figure out what’s going on and how you can achieve your balance once again. Like cars, we have many different aspects of ourselves. They all must be cared for and put into their proper place in order for us to live our fullest life.

How are you going to find balance in your life again?

r_blogxpsog-leo-rivas-micoud
unsplash.com

Your Body=A Temple of God

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”~1 Corinthians 6:19-20

girl
(courtesy of unsplash.com)

Our bodies are gifts given to us. These bodies are the vehicles which allow us to serve God and our fellow human beings. They allow us to experience the gift of life. We are only given one chance to live, one body to work with. How are you doing with treating your body as a temple, remembering that you were made in the image of God?

There is so much evidence about the effects on our bodies of many different things–smoking, sugar, lack of sleep, etc. Young people often make health choices and don’t see the negative effects. So they continue to make those choices, not realizing the cumulative damage that these choices are having upon their bodies.

It can be difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle nowadays. I am thinking specifically of living in North America. There are ingredients in the foods sold in our stores that are banned in other countries! This society also encourages us to produce, produce, produce. This can lead to large amounts of stress, less sleep, and even less time to prepare and eat healthy meals. Many jobs are also sedentary. Most people are not getting the exercise they need to stay healthy. Is it any wonder that people are stressed out and sick?

As in the other areas of life, God is calling us to be different. We are called to honor our bodies as creations of God! As the verse at the beginning of the post states, we were bought with a price! Christ gave His very body so that we might live. By taking care of our bodies, we are honoring God and His sacrifice on the cross.

Here is a checklist I came up with to figure out how we’re doing well and where we can ask God’s grace to make improvements (and perhaps find an accountability partner):

  • Am I getting the sleep my body needs each night in order to feel refreshed and ready to do God’s work the next day?
  • Am I choosing foods that nourish my body and leave me feeling energetic and healthy?
  • Do I take opportunities to exercise and move my body?
  • Am I listening to negative music, watching bad movies, or spending time with other unholy and draining influences?
  • Do I respect my own body and the bodies of others, in my thoughts, words, and actions?
  • Am I taking care of my emotional health and taking opportunities to recharge and also to spend time with positive community?
  • Do I love the way that God made me or do I think negative thoughts about myself?
  • Am I nourishing my soul by spending time in prayer with God?
  • Am I honoring the Sabbath and refraining from unnecessary work on that day?

What tips do you have for taking care of the temple of your body?

Emotional/Mental Wellness-Part II

Welcome to Emotional/Mental Wellness-Part II of the Wellness series! (Part I-Spiritual Wellness-can be found here.) Though some of these tips may seem basic, often we stray from the basics. Sometimes it’s a simple reason why we’re feeling “off” and unbalanced–and often it has to do with losing track of the basics! I hope that you’ll be able to find some help in this post!

P1000266

1. Pray. Pour your heart out to God! God will lead you to truth and wholeness. In God, you will find joy. That doesn’t mean you will be happy all the time–but joy means security in God, no matter what! The sacrament of Reconciliation can also help us stay well emotionally–we get the darkness out of us and find forgiveness! There is so much healing and life to be found in that. We don’t realize how much our sin unconsciously affects us and our well-being.

2. Find social support. At work or in other situations, we can encounter people who bring negativity. Life can be stressful anyway. Tragedy and hard times hit us. Surround yourself with positive people who inspire you. Make time to connect with those people and groups that keep you real. Make friends with honest, loyal people that you can count on in good times and bad. Confide in family and friends that will encourage you, even when you’re in your darkest hour.

3. Don’t fill your plate too much. I’m not talking food here. I’m talking about life balance. Keep your priorities straight and stay focused on them. This will cut down on unnecessary stress. This will help you to be calm(er) and to savor the life you are living. It’s difficult to do the best we can if we are spread between 100 things. If you focus on the most important things, you’ll excel.

4. Fill your body with nourishment.  Many people don’t realize that the foods they ingest can affect their moods! Stay away from refined sugars and heavily processed foods. Make sure that you’re getting healthy fats–such as avocados–in your diet. Vitamin D also affects mood. The most common source of Vitamin D is fish–this page contains a list of Vitamin D-rich foods. Another help for mood or anxiety is essential oils. I love to use Lavender for its calming affects, and not to mention it has a great scent!

5. Get enough rest. This is another arena of our life which can affect your mood. Not only can sleep affect your mood, it will also affect the quality of your work. Are you a person who doesn’t sleep because you feel there’s too much to do? Consider this: if you let your body recharge each night, your productivity will show this. On the other hand, insufficient sleep will catch up to you and the quality of your work will suffer.  The amount of sleep you get can also affect your relationships with others. If you’re crabby because you’ve been cutting out sleep, it won’t be a positive influence on your relationships.

Next up: physical wellness! As you can see, often these tips will affect other parts of your life; that’s because each part of our being is connected and goes with the other! Do you have any other tips or necessities in your life for staying emotionally balanced?