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A Good, Balanced Diet Supports Mental Sharpness and Focus

At this time of year, it is too easy to take it easy, especially when the weather is cold and dark. But focusing on a balanced diet and delicious healthy foods is essential for mental sharpness and focus.

A good diet supports a good night’s sleep, which in the end, positively affects every aspect of one’s life. On the other hand, a poor diet has the opposite effect on health and motivation. A poor diet is responsible for fatigue and can aggravate illness. It also may lead to stress and depression.

Mindfulness and the Healthy Gut

Our gut, otherwise known as the intestine, is linked to the brain and perhaps surprisingly, the two do communicate and alter each other. The gut can alter emotional behaviour in the brain, and the brain can affect the kind of bacteria living in the gut. Healthy bacteria in the gut leads to better health, a better mood and less stress.

Focusing on mindfulness while eating is good for your health. Try not to snack in front of the television. Instead sit in a designated place so that you can really notice and savour the taste and quality of the food.

Why Eat a Good, Balanced Diet?

A healthy diet provides the body with essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and other compounds that are necessary for mental health. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like fish, nuts and seeds) are particularly beneficial for brain health. Additionally, complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, provide sustained energy throughout the day to keep you alert and focused. Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables also helps to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to support mental clarity and focus.

The Best Foods for the Brain

Consider the advantages of a healthy diet focused on complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. Complex carbohydrates are brown rice, and starchy vegetables. Quinoa, millet, beets and sweet potatoes are very nutritional and satisfying. Lean proteins provide energy to help with thinking and reaction processes. Chicken, meat, fish, eggs, soybeans, nut and seeds are good choices. Healthy fats are essential for the brain. Choose olive oils, coconut oils and avocado for brain function.

Avoiding processed snack foods is the best change anyone can make. These foods make it hard to concentrate and sugary junk food and drinks send energy on spikes and crashes, which interfere with sleep. To make it a little easier, take a look at Canada Food Guide’s advice and tips for healthy eating.

Don’t forget about regular physical activity for healthy aging, and for additional motivation to eat a great diet for mental sharpness and to get that good night’s sleep.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Airdrie Denture Centre for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.
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