This article is a kind contribution by self care guru, Brad Krause.
Do you ever notice how self-care is one of the first things to go out the window when life gets busy? We tend to prioritize almost everything over our own health and wellness. Taking the time to care for yourself is of ultimate importance when your life gets stressful and you’re feeling run down. Commit to these nutritional self-care practices so you can develop lifelong healthy habits that will stick with you through anything.
Load up With Fruits and Veggies
We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for our bodies, but did you know that they can improve your mood? In fact, one study found that people who ate fruits and vegetables had more positive emotions the following day. According to Forbes, you should aim to make your plate as colorful as possible, combining various whole foods to receive the most balanced collection of nutrients. For example, blue and purple foods, like blueberries, are good for digestion while dark, leafy greens provide calcium, iron, and antioxidants. Instead of flavoring your veggie meals with salt or sugary sauces, use natural herbs and spices to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar.
Support Your Gut Health
Many people refer to the gut as the second brain because it contains a nervous system of its own. This means that the brain is directly affected by what's going on in the digestive system. It’s even suggested that the bacteria in our gut can influence how we see the world and alter our behavior. This is why healthy eating plays such a key role in our mental health. Some of the best foods for your gut include healthy fats, nuts and seeds, high-fiber veggies, sweet potatoes, squash, plant-based proteins, and lean meats. Additionally, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are rich in probiotics to help populate your gut with pathogen-fighting bacteria.
Avoid Problem Foods
Many foods that we consume on a regular basis wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. For example, sugary desserts can make mood imbalances worse, exacerbating mental health issues. At the same time, dairy causes inflammation in two-thirds of the population, resulting in all-around negative effects on the body. For people with an intolerance to gluten, consuming wheat can worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia.
The problem is, many convenience foods contain these problematic ingredients in addition to harmful preservatives and trans fats. Fortunately, you can take advantage of meal delivery services to help you maintain a healthy diet when you’re too busy to shop and plan meals yourself. These services also offer light, low-calorie meal options which makes them great for anyone aiming to lose weight. Check for which are available in your local area.
Eat to Improve Your Sleep
Ensuring you get enough quality sleep each night is one of the best ways you can care for yourself. According to Neurocore, sleep deprivation reduces our ability to think clearly and regulate our mood. Treating sleep issues can alleviate symptoms of various health problems, including anxiety and depression, while helping you feel more positive during the day. Along with practicing good sleep hygiene, eating sleep-inducing foods in the evening can help your body get better rest. For example, walnuts contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce sleep hormones. Vitamin B6, found in tuna and salmon, has similar effects as well. Research has even discovered that tart cherry juice can boost melatonin production and reduce insomnia naturally.
Finally, remember that how you eat can be just as important as what you eat. Try to eat mindfully, slowing down and paying careful attention to your body. Yes, that means turning off the television during mealtime! This will help you better tune into your body’s signals of fullness and avoid overeating. Plus, practicing mindful eating will help you appreciate the healthy foods you take the time to cook for yourself.