Fun, Facts & Fitness from Mary Morris MSc.
It is such good news to hear that new research into healthy eating is proving to help those with mental health issues. For decades we have known that exercise has a significant effect on how we feel, improving mood and relieving stress, but to now hear that a good diet (independent of whether you exercise or not) will work wonders on how you are mentally, is comforting to know. It encompasses everything we stand for on both our website and in this Newsletter every week.
Healthy Eating and Your Mental Health
Everything contained in The 28-Day Immunity Plan incorporates the most up-to-date information we have from this active field of research. There is still a lot to learn about how food affects our mood but the message is clear. Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids are excellent brain food and can be found in oily fish and flax and chia seeds. We should be eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and avoiding highly processed foods that are high in trans-fats such as those found in biscuits and cakes. So the next time you are in the supermarket bear this in mind and spend lots of time in the right aisles and never take a wrong turning!
Exercise and Mental Health
Exercise is such a great way to lift your mood and improve your ability to deal with stress. Every time you exercise, your brain produces endorphins - the body's feel-good hormones - improving energy levels and a sense of well-being.
When I set off on one of my proper walks (and by 'proper' I mean when I am using it as an exercise session rather than just going for a stroll to the shops) within the first 10 minutes my knees are saying they would prefer me to go back home and my neck feels like my head is too heavy to carry it. But after 10 minutes all that disappears! Now isn't that clever! Once my body has warmed up and I get into the swing of it, the enjoyment begins.
But all of that is no match for what it does for my mental health, particularly if I am out walking with a group of others as well, constantly chatting and sharing experiences that, without doubt, may help us manage our difficult times more easily. A problem shared is a problem halved, as the saying goes. I return feeling more energised and able to cope with whatever life throws at me.
Your Gut and Mental Health
Finally, there is more and more evidence that our mental health is affected significantly by the contents of our gut, and scientists are going so far as to say that your gut is a kind of second brain!
It is now recognised that there is a direct link between our psychology and immunology. For a long time, we have thought that the mind can affect our ability to get well if we are ill, as having negative thoughts can bring our immunity down and delay our recovery, while positive thinking can work wonders.
So, failure to channel our thoughts and emotions in the right direction can not only cause our mood to plummet but our immunity too. Fascinating stuff. And it feels as if this is just the tip of the iceberg! This is an area of research I personally find fascinating and I will always update you when new information becomes available. The pandemic was a big wake-up call for all of us and we need our immunity to be the best it can be. Take another look at Chapters 2 and 3 from The 28-Day Immunity Plan to check on how to have the healthiest gut.
For those of you who would like to know more about this exciting field of research I would like to direct you to an excellent text book called 'Immunity – the Science of Staying Well' by Dr Jenna Macciochi. It won't suit everybody but if you have a background in research and study yourself, I think it is worth a look.