How proper nutrition improves a person’s mental alertness? What is proper nutrition and how does it affect the functions of the mind? Explore the way that nutrients and what you put in your body shape your everyday thoughts.
In this article, we will discuss the effectiveness of proper nutrition in improving a person’s mental alertness.
Nutrition is the source of nutrients that plays a vital role in improving one’s mental health.
However, not everyone fully grasps the importance of nutrition beyond the surface.
What Is Proper Nutrition?
Proper nutrition is defined as consuming vital nutrients for healthy living. The exact nutritional requirement differs from person to person. According to experts’ opinions, 80% of a healthy functioning body can be acquired through proper nutrition. The rest, that remaining twenty percent, depends greatly on genetics and physical activity.
Recent guidelines suggested by the WHO confirm that a healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. The human brain is a principal organ that controls various functions of the body such as limb movement, vision, taste, and emotions. Improper consumption of nutrients could have a negative effect on the brain’s ability to perform such functions.
It is worth mentioning that proper nutrition is not only about healthy eating, but it is also about the exclusion of unhealthy, heavily processed foods.
Eventually, a combination of both lifestyle choices helps in improving a person’s mental alertness.
How Does Proper Nutrition Improve a Person’s Mental Alertness?
The science behind the effect of proper diet on one’s mental health is quite interesting. Our bodies secrete a hormone known as serotonin (the happy hormone) which controls our sense of touch, eating habits, moods, and sleep cycles. This hormone is majorly produced in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). The production of this hormone is totally dependent on our GIT system.
When we start to eat unhealthy food, it will lead to the generation of toxins that may alter the production of serotonin. This, ultimately, leads towards a reduction in mental alertness.
According to a recent study, BMC Medicine Journal proved that groups of individuals with dietary intervention for three months demonstrated marked improvement in the severity of depression. Some participants in this study group even achieved remission from a depressive state by as much as thirty-two percent. This speaks to the conclusion that proper nutrition improves a person’s mental alertness.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Proper Nutrition
- Nowadays, eating regular meals is of utter importance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since most of our time is being spent at home, we are easily susceptible to haphazard eating routines that lead to depression and anxiety. Creating a strict mealtime routine for each day and ensuring that breakfast and lunch are the main meals of the day will be much more beneficial for mental alertness.
- Eat your fiber! Apart from serotonin, proper consumption of whole grains and fiber leads to the production of a neurotransmitter known as tyrosine. The tyrosine balances our emotions and boosts memory during stressful conditions.
- Get plenty of raw fruits and vegetables in your diet. This can help in the production of vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for our mental well-being.
- Consuming Low glycemic index products like beans, lentils and fruits can keep blood sugar levels balanced. In turn, this helps in maintaining a healthy state of mind.
- No one can ignore the importance of drinking adequate water regularly. In fact, most of our brain tissue is composed of water. Proper consumption of water helps the brain to function normally and saves us from dehydration. Being dehydrated can deplete the brain of what it needs to function regularly and could even lead to anxiety and depression.
- Seafood and avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids. These play a vital role in improving our mental alertness and are often considered to be the building blocks for the brain.
- Do not eat excessively saturated fat products. It is important to limit the use of saturated fat products such as cakes, biscuits, cheese, and pre-processed sausages. Heavy consumption of these types of foods may cause memory impairment.
- Don’t add salt! Limit your salt intake as it will help in reducing anxiety and stress.
- Don’t eat too much sugar. Stay away from added sugar in drinks and foods that you don’t prepare yourself. Limiting it could help in the improvement of long-term memory and also aids in reducing anxiety and depression symptoms.
- Do not drink alcoholic drinks. Alcohol consumption creates an imbalance between the different chemicals in our brain which initially provides a feeling of relaxation but, in the long-term, damages the brain and promotes both stress and mood swings. Unrestrained drinking could trigger psychiatric illnesses that may lead to suicidal attempts.
How Does Improper Nutrition Effect Intelligence?
Studies published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has shown that lower IQ levels in children were associated with higher consumption of processed food and meals rich in saturated fats and sugar.
Is there Anything other than Nutrition that Affects Our Mental Health Positively?
Yes, regular exercise helps in mental stability, improves self-esteem, and enhances your mood.
There is a significant correlation between nutrition and mental health. Proper nutrition can improve a person’s mental alertness. Consuming adequate nutrition and fostering a healthy meal routine can help in preventing various mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. It is our duty to our bodies to keep proper nutrition in mind at all times in order to keep the brain healthy and active as it is the most vital organ of our body controlling various functions. We recommend you consult a dietitian once or twice a year to ensure that you are consuming proper nutrition and before you make any significant changes to your diet.