It is widely acknowledged that having a healthy body will lead to a healthy mind and healthy outlook on life. The World Health Organisation defines Health as State of complete physical, mental, and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
This makes complete sense, so the question is ‘What can we do to achieve a state of health?”
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well being. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for those aged between18 and 64 and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for those aged over 65.
The National Sleep Foundation also makes the following recommendations:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- Exercise daily.
- Evaluate your bedroom to ensure ideal temperature, sound and light.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.
- Turn off electronics before bed.
Visit the Sleep Foundation for more information on sleep.
Cut out processed foods
Processed foods have been shown to have a negative effect on the bacteria in out gut, called the gut microbiota. Processed foods tend to have an excessive amount of fat and sugar while providing an inadequate amount of fibre, minerals and vitamins. Consumption of highly processed foods has been linked to a smaller hippocampus- this is the part of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory as well as regulating mood.
A healthy diet can not only promote physical wellbeing but also mental wellbeing. When we eat a diet that is rich in nutrients, we ensure that the gut microbiome remains healthy. A healthy diet is associated with a richer and more diverse gut microbiome which helps to support the immune system, reduces inflammation and can have a positive effect on mental health.
Here are some tips on maintaining a healthy diet:
- Consume 120-150g of high omega 3- fat fish on 2 to 3 days of the week. Fish not only helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but it has also been shown to reduce the rate of mental decline in the older population.
- Include legumes such as chickpeas, beans and lentils into the diet. Legumes are rich in dietary fibre and B group vitamins, calcium and iron. Consuming legumes can help with regulating bowels and heart health, including reducing cholesterol levels.
- Incorporate 30g of nuts and seeds into your daily diet. Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, brazil nuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds contain protein and dietary fibre as well as being rich in magnesium, iron, zinc and potassium. They can help with heart health as well as reducing inflammation associated with joint illnesses such as osteoarthritis.
According to Health Line, there are a number of benefits to exercising regularly, including:
- Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease your feelings of depression, anxiety and stress and can increase the production of endorphins which are known to help produce positive feelings.
- Physical activity help you build muscles and strong bones and may also help prevent osteoporosis.
- Engaging in regular physical activity can increase your energy levels.
- Regular exercise improves blood flow to the brain and helps brain health and memory.
- Physical activity can help with relaxation and sleep quality, helping you to sleep better and feel more energised during the day.
Want further information on how to achieve a healthy body and a healthy mind? Contact one of the health professionals below:
Dietitian Silva Nazaretian
Silva provides clinical dietetics to the sporting and general public at MyPhysio GESAC.
Mind Australia Community Mental Health Practitioner Salma Mahari
Mind Australia offers mental health services to the community with offices located within the Health Club at GESAC
Book a complimentary health consultation with one of our trainers today (available for all Health Club members)