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Friday, June 23, 2017

The Importance of a Good Diet by Marie Miguel

Diet and Health

It's sometimes easy to forget that depression, chronic anxiety and many other mental health issues are not so much a state of mind as they are diseases, with biological causes (among others) and effects on physical well-being. Sadly, these illnesses can also make their appearance in childhood years and persist for months or years if not detected and treated.

The brain is a physical organ just like the heart or liver, consuming around a fifth of a person's total energy intake and having particular nutrient requirements. Fortunately, a meal that supports mental well being tends to be exactly what most of us would consider to be healthy food in a general sense, including a variety of vegetables, whole grains and a balance between carbohydrates and protein.

Anti-inflammatory foods are also important to a healthy diet. When cells get inflamed, the body’s normal function is impaired. It is difficult to absorb nutrients, literally making one feel “sick”. This can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and even depression. As the old adage says, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Stay away from salami and other processed foods which contain preservatives and chemicals--they have little nutritional value and significant poison content. Look for healthy choices for each meal.

Family Meal Plans for Improved Health 

One of the ways mental health problems can be prevented or treated is by eating a better diet.  This information can be invaluable to those who manage the family meal. Considering the far-reaching impact a change in lunch policies can have in a school environment, for instance.

What foods promote healthy brains and bodies?  Foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties are found in cucumber, turmeric, Arctic char (a “sister” of salmon), Swiss chard, green tea, beets, and blueberries, to name a few.

In addition, a number of specific foods contain chemicals that have been proven to lead to better mental health. Leafy green vegetables like Swiss chard, oily fish like Arctic char or Salmon, beans and other legumes are of particular importance, as are a variety of herbs and spices - like turmeric.

Cucumber salad is a great meal suggestion or try a chicken-cucumber sandwich. If you slice the cucumber thinly, picky eaters will be less likely to object. You can sprinkle turmeric in soup or as a seasoning to other foods. If Arctic char is difficult to find, you can always serve grilled pink salmon, seasoned with salt and pepper. Swiss chard is very nutritious and can be used in salads or fruit and veggie smoothies.  You can make sweet green tea or a milk-tea drink. Beets can be used to bake a cake, cupcakes and muffins or can be a good afternoon snack. Blueberries are the best when eaten raw.

How to Create a Meal Plan

Creating a meal plan is not that hard if you take a few minutes each week to get organized. Twenty to thirty minutes is usually sufficient to plan the meal plan for the week ahead. 

Set aside a regular time to prepare your menu and shopping list. Fix a cold drink to relax your mind or if you want something warm, hot green tea can also help to soothe your tired senses. Sit on a chair and do your listing in a serene environment.  As you decide on what to serve for your family, especially if you have growing kids, keep in mind that the food pyramid is your best guide.

With millions of American families suffering from some kind of mental health issue, an inexpensive solution that can be widely implemented should be grabbed hold of with both hands. Taking the time to play and execute a healthy diet can have great benefit for your family.

Following this approach will enable limited resources to stretch further, including making funds available for other kinds of intervention, including therapy, which is now more easily available more than ever before. 

Marie Miguel is an avid internet researcher. She is fueled by her determination to answer the many questions she hasn't been able to find the answer to anywhere else. When she finds these answers she likes to spread the knowledge to others seeking help. She is always looking for outlets to share her information, therefore she occasionally has her content published on different websites and blogs. Even though she doesn't run one herself, she loves contributing to others.

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

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