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Your Positive Body Image: Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep for Mental Health

By Kassandra Hobart

Your Positive Body Image: Nutrition, Exercise and Sleep for Mental Health

Positive body image starts with accepting where you are.

Nutrition and Mental Health: What Can I Eat to Improve It?

Believe it or not, stress is minerally expensive on the body. Zinc, magnesium, and calcium are all utilized by the nervous system for healthy cognition. Prolonged periods of stress may deplete these minerals overtime. Adding in potent, whole-food forms of these minerals can improve your mental health, calmness, and focus. Zinc is essential for protein structure and function, especially in the brain. It plays a vital role in glutamatergic neurons. Magnesium is important for metabolic reactions, namely the production and use of ATP (our body’s energy currency). Calcium is a signaling molecule on which many nerve processes are dependent. Lastly, proper hydration gives our bodies the ability to maintain the right water/mineral balance. Zinc sources: Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Pumpkin Seed, Ginger Root and Black Pepper Magnesium sources: Mushrooms, Spinach, Kale, and most Legumes Calcium sources: Broccoli (cooked), Yogurt, Collard Greens (cooked),Turnip Greens (cooked)

Exercise for Mental Health: How Does it Benefit?

We know exercise keeps our tissues and muscles strong, but it also impacts our mental health. Exercise increases our brain health by the secretion of neurotransmitters, chemical messengers, endorphins, and peptide hormones. These messengers and hormones help us thrive mentally and emotionally.

  • In particular, dopamine leads to the regulation of learning, working, and emotional cognition.
  • Noradrenaline balances memory and cognitive function.
  • Serotonin affects the hypothalamus control of pituitary secretions, circadian rhythm, eating habits and melatonin production (Lin & Kuo, 2013).
  • Endorphins create pain relief and reduce anxiety.

All of this is going on while you work out! Whether you choose to go for a walk, play tennis, CrossFit, or hot yoga, moving around will help your mental health the rest of the day.

WHOOP, Sleep and Mental Health

WHOOP Sleep performance metrics give great insight to mental wellness and clarity. Among other things, sleep is a proven memory aid. Research shows that sleep prior to studying makes space for new material. Additionally, sleeping after studying helps prevent forgetting the new information (Mazza, et al., 2016). While you are asleep, your body restores and repairs the brain, which facilitates the recalibration and healthy function of biological systems. It also allows for detoxification. Using WHOOP to quantify your REM, deep sleep, light sleep and awake phases throughout the night will help gauge how well your brain is repairing. This data lets you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your sleep and how improving your sleep hygiene will ultimately benefit your recovery and mental health the next day. You can also use the WHOOP Journal feature to see how changes to your diet and exercise regimen affect your metrics. READ MORE: 10 Mental Health Activities You Can Do at Home or Work However you choose to track mental wellness, remember to be proud of where you are today. Accept and love your present day self. Cultivate a positive internal dialogue and watch the magic happen! Want more guidance on living your best physical and mental self? You can work with Kassandra and a team of expert nutrition coaches over at M2 Performance Nutrition.


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