We are what we eat. It’s an oldie but a goodie. And research continues to show that eating well can improve brain function and help people with depression, anxiety and related disorders. The bonus is you’ll also have a healthier, fitter body that’s fuelled-up and ready to perform when you hit the footy ground or netball court.
So what does healthy eating for a healthy mind actually look like?
Here’s a snapshot:
A wide variety of nutritious foods. Variety stimulates your interest, even when you don’t feel hungry.
Plenty of veggies, legumes and fruits. Leafy green vegetables are a super source of folate which may help improve the effects of antidepressant medication.
Lean meat, fish, poultry and/or alternatives. Protein-rich foods give your brain what it needs to produce serotonin, a mood-balancing chemical.
Milks, yoghurts, cheeses and /or alternatives. Ready-to-eat, nutritious foods, especially low-fat varieties. Get sleepy with a warm milk drink.
Plenty of water. Stay hydrated; even mild dehydration can change your mood.
Limit saturated fats, alcohol, sugar and caffeine. This one speaks for itself. It’s all about balance, avoiding spikes or triggers in your system. Your mind and your mood are driven by chemicals. Throwing the chemicals out of kilter can change the way you think and feel.
Some bonus tips:
- Eat regularly to keep blood sugars (and mood) stable. Also stops you getting over hungry and making bad food choices.
- Keep it simple. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple meals like baked beans on wholemeal toast take only minutes to pull together.
- Snack time is no excuse to go off-plan. Get sorted with fruits, nuts, raw veggies, low-fat crackers and dips.
For more ideas and inspo about healthy living, and easy recipes, hit up the Better Health Channel. Or have a chat with your sporting group’s Player Wellbeing Officer.