Week 4: Nutrition
Healthy nutrition and eating habits are essential for promoting good brain, mental, and physical health. A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods can provide the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that the body needs to function optimally. Adequate nutrition is crucial for brain health, as it supports cognitive function and can help protect against age-related cognitive decline. Additionally, healthy eating habits can help regulate mood, reduce the risk of mental health disorders, and improve overall physical health by reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Challenge Exercises: Pick one nutritional improvement to focus on this week and implement it daily.
Get the right amount of calories every day. Find your “Basal Metabolic Rate” (The minimum amount of calories your body needs just to stay alive and do it’s basic functions) and your “ Daily Caloric Needs” (The approximate number of calories your body needs to sustain your energy and activity level) by going to the following online calculators.
BMR & DCN- https://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/
The the right kinds of food. Balance healthy macronutrients for at least one meal p/day this week.
Macro Nutrients include…
Proteins (Building blocks of our muscles and cells. Include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, some vegitables, etc.) Fats (Fats act a conductors, cushion and lubrication as well as a long term source of energy. Include oils, nuts, butters, avocado, animal and other fats) Carbohydrates (They are the main energy source in our body and help our bodies and brains perform their functions and help us feel energetic and be active. Include grains, fruits, vegitables, sugars)
All carbohydrates are not created equal. Complex carbohydrates including whole grains, fruits and vegitables are generally preferable due to being a better sustainable source of ongoing energy. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, processed foods, fruit juices and white breads and grains. They burn quickly in our body causing extreme shifts in blood sugar and insulin levels and often lead to a “crash” if not monitored well. This crash can impact mood and thinking.
Micro Nutrients include…
Vitamins -Some basic vitamins that can be helpful in supporting mental and physical health include… A good daily multivitamin (Overall function and health), B Vitamin complex (Energy regulation), Vit. D (Immune health, calcium absorbtion, bone, muscle and heart health), Omega fatty acids (Sustain cell wall and function, support basic function of cells to keep things functioning as they should.), Vitamin C (Immunity, Protect cells from free radicals).
Minerals- Magnesium (Supports muscle and nerve function and energy production and management, has calming effect), Calcium (Supports bone health), Iron (Carry oxygen throughout the body), Potassium (Helps regulate blood pressure and support neurological function), Zinc (Brain health, thyroid hormone synthesis).
3. Track your eating and adjust slowly. Use apps like My Fitness Pal or Lose IT to track your eating for a week or two. Pick one thing you can do and will do on a daily basis and do that until it become a habit and then move to the next.
Some people may have to make slight adjustments to what they eat due to sensitivities and allergies or other health issues. Consult a nutritionist or doctor to create a healthy nutritional plan for yourself.