Choosing the right foods and lifestyle are essential factors if we want to keep our energy levels high and wellness excellent. How and when we eat can influence our moods and how we feel. Here are some useful guides on how to stay active and healthy from nutrition professionals.
Begin the day with a healthy breakfast
By now, we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy and balanced breakfast can “fuel up” our day. It may come with whole fruits (instead of juice, if possible), one serving or two of whole grains, and a high-protein foods like low fat yogurt or cheese or a little lean meat. Carbohydrates that are in the foods help boost metabolism and provide our brain the fuel to function well throughout the morning. Protein help us stay satisfied until the next meal which is lunch.
Never miss a meal
We may lead a fast-paced lives and miss eating regular meals, but in the end, this will catch up on us in some ways. It is recommended to make it a habit to eat every four to five hours as this will give your physical body a constant source of energy and help prevent hunger pangs giving us those feelings of being exhausted, cranky and wanting to eat anything we see around. Eating our regular meals help prevent to make poor choices on foods leaving us feel crappy after.
More fish on your diet
Results of many recent studies recommend that omega-3 fatty acids in fish help in the relief of the symptoms of several mental disorders. A research claimed that participants with low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids tend to have mild to moderate symptoms of depression. Experts continue to conduct research and studies to further determine if omega-3 really play a major role in improving our moods, although it is proven to be healthy for the heart. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Omega-3 fats are also found in walnuts, ground flaxseeds, canola oil, and omega-3-fortified eggs. Find recipes that provide the omega-3 that we need everyday.
Take Vitamin Bs
More studies learned that low blood levels of these two vitamin Bs – folate and vitamin B12 – may be associated to depression. Researchers believe that these vitamins are essential in helping elevate one’s moods. Foods containing folate are whole-grain breakfast cereals, oatmeal, wheat germ, dark leafy greens, oranges, broccoli, black-eyed peas, lentils, beets, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. Foods that are rich in Vitamin B12 are shellfish such as crabs, clams, and oysters; wild salmon (both fresh and canned); lean beef, eggs, milk, low-fat yogurt, fortified whole grain breakfast cereals, and cottage cheese.
Drink lots of water
Health professionals suggest to drink plenty of water to stay healthy and feel at our best the entire day. The amount of water or fluids that our body needs will depend on several factors including the size of our body, level of our activities, and the kind of weather and humidity. Generally, people who are healthy may need two and one-half to three and one-half quarts of fluids every day, including those that natural fluids contained in the foods we that eat.
There are surveys that claim many people are severely dehydrated because they do not drink enough fluids throughout the day or those who drink when they are thirsty. We feel thirsty when we lost about one to two percent of our body weight in water. Then, we experience symptoms of dehydration like difficulty focusing, impatience, and poor physiological performance and response.
Health professionals recommend (always have ) is try to drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration. Those caffeinated, diuretics, and alcoholic drinks can contribute to dehydration. Aside from drinking enough water throughout the day, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to boost fluid intake since they have enough amount of natural water.
Get enough sleep
Mood is manageable and physical body is effective in combating stress when we are well-rested via enough sleep. Some research showed the link of lack of sleep might result to potentially severe health concerns. Lack of sleep may cause our body to emit cortisol (a stress hormone) continuously into the bloodstream. High levels of this specific hormone called cortisol may have some unfavorable effects such as it may increase blood glucose levels that can trigger the body to emit more insulin. Over time, this increased insulin level may result to insulin resistance which is a condition where the cells of the body become less responsive to the effects of insulin. Extreme cases may result to type-2 diabetes. The person tend to become sick easily as it weakens immune system making us more vulnerable to any infection.
Try doing some ritual relaxing activities before going to bed like reading a book and going to bed earlier than we usually do. Avoid taking work-related reading materials before going to bed. Just relax, go to bed, and wake up at the same time each day and create a sleeping “program schedule” into our biological clock. Drinking alcohol late in the evening may interrupt sleep cycle.
Know the difference between real hunger and emotional eating.
It was one hour ago when we just had our lunch and our stomach is not grumbling but we feel like craving for food – specific food such as cookies or chocolate bar. If this occurs, it is time to assess if we are emotional eater.
These days, most people want to eat to inhibit unpleasant emotions like anger, anxiety, stress, sadness, or even boredom. Some use foods as reward. Knowing the reasons for eating is gaining control over our eating habits, and eating due to emotional purposes may result to gaining more weight and poor nutrition. It is therefore important to know and understand why we are eating our food choices.
After knowing the emotional concerns that motivate us to eat, we can now find proper non-food ways like taking deep breathing or doing meditation, or call a friend, or taking a walk to address these emotional concerns.
Do regular exercises.
There are studies where results show regular exercises may help reduce stress and depression. Exercises help emit the “feel-good” endorphins in the brain, and do some 30-minute exercise each day where you can split into smaller intervals if that is more convenient for us. Or, try to take some 15-minute walk during lunch, or another after work. This will meet our goal for the day.
Aspire for balance in nutrition
Meals should contain lean high-protein foods with whole grains, vegetables and fruits. These fruits take longer to digest keeping us satisfied longer and stay feeling energized and very productive. Nutritionists suggest that protein should make up at least fifteen percent of our calories and fat should make up at least thirty percent. Grains should be about fifty-five percent of our meals.
To avoid the afternoon slack, it is recommended to take proteins during lunch because proteins have amino acids like tyrosine which is the building block for alert-boosting neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that send signals between the nerve cells.
Have lots of quality carbs like fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread or pasta, and brown rice. Select wisely since stress usually results to want more carbs since they boost serotonin that bring calming effect on us. Being in this state may cause us to crave for cookies, chips and other highly-refined carb snacks. Select “good snacks” like whole grain granola bars, whole grain crackers, or fresh or dried fruits. Select the right carbs to help boost nutritional content of our meals and snacks.