Learning How to Nourish your Body: Benefits of Healthy Food and a Healthy Mind
The journey into adulthood is marked by many physical, mental, and emotional changes, and what you put into your body on a daily basis directly impacts your wellness in all of these domains. Establishing and maintaining a healthy nutritional plan during the young adult years will help promote metabolic functioning, prevent the development of chronic conditions, and help to regulate your mood. For all these reasons and more, it’s important to start forming a healthy and sustainable nutrition plan.
How eating healthy can benefit your body and mind
Creating healthy nutrition habits as a young adult will set your body up for success as you continue to age. Eating a balanced diet can help to keep your bones and muscles strong, build a healthy immune system, prevent chronic illness, and manage/prevent health conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.
In addition to all of the benefits your body will receive from nourishing it appropriately, your mind will also receive direct gains. The connection between nutrition and emotion stems from the relationship between your brain and your gastrointestinal tract, which is often referred to as the second brain.
When you eat healthy food, your GI tract promotes the growth of good bacteria and sends these positive messages to your brain, which results in happier emotions. A diet of junk food conversely sends inflammatory messages to the brain which dampens your mood. This is particularly true with sugary foods that can send false dopamine messages to your brain followed by intense mood crashes.
Creating healthy meals and how they affect your body
So what should you be eating to improve your mental and physical health? Experts say the answers are not found in fad and crash dieting but rather in sustainable lifestyle changes that include a balanced approach to food that emphasizes all things in moderation.
When looking for foods to fill your plate, look for “whole foods”. These are foods that are minimally processed and don’t have a lot of ingredients that you can’t pronounce on the food labels. Highly processed foods have been found to cause or worsen hyperactivity and depression. For example, try some fresh fruits and veggies as these are minimally processed.
You’ll also want to stock up on foods that are high in fiber, like whole grain rice, pasta, and bread, which can aid in digestion and help you avoid sugar crashes. This small change away from white rice, pasta, and bread is a great place to start for your nutritional journey and can yield big results for your mood.
When choosing foods, you want to make sure that you are receiving enough vitamins and minerals that help support your body. Look for foods rich in antioxidants, folate, vitamin D, and magnesium, and consider getting a vitamin supplement if your foods are lacking in these areas.
Incorporating good nutrition into your life will take some effort and time, so check out meal prepping and how that can set you up for a whole week of success. Allow yourself some patience and room for mistakes as good nutritional habits are a lifelong journey.
Journey Home Young Adult Can Help
Journey Home Young Adult has been specifically designed to help teens ages 18-23 who need ongoing support after completing a prior, more intensive treatment program. Our teens receive education on a myriad of life skills, including meal planning and good nutritional habits.
Our program combines therapeutic support with greater freedom and responsibility, so our teens can learn to thrive in adulthood. For more information on how we can help, please call (855) 918-0032.