Understanding the importance of the link between nutrition and well-being can be difficult when several articles or online sources are telling you different things. We worked with health and fitness industry leaders at Future Fit to bring you some clear insights into ways nutrition can impact your overall well-being. Future Fit provide Nutrition Courses which are written and taught by experts in their field.
To get started it’s important to understand that the foods you consume and the nutrition you undertake can help improve mood, increase energy and help maintain and clear mindset. There are several different ways this can be impacted, with different foods having different impacts on your overall well-being. Below we have covered some key points to remember as well as including some top tips to help you maintain your overall well-being through nutrition.
Carbohydrates & regular eating
In order for you to be able to concentrate and remain focused, you need energy. The source of energy can be linked with the foods you decide to consume and carbohydrates are one of these. Carbohydrates will provide blood glucose which in turn provides energy to the body.
Naturally, if your brain does not have enough energy you can begin to feel tired, weak and unmotivated to do anything you are planning to do. Ensuring you are consuming the right amount of carbohydrates each day is an important factor in setting your brain up for the day. Foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and oats are well-known carbohydrates which will have a direct contribution to improving energy.
If this is something you currently struggle to do, look for ways to incorporate small amounts of carbohydrates into your diet throughout the day. This could be having a portion of nuts or fruit as a snack, this will help maintain energy levels by providing carbohydrates.
Top tip: Set your body and brain up for the day by including a carbohydrate such as oats or cereal with some fruit for breakfast.
Proteins & fats
Proteins and fats are other factors which directly impact your energy levels, when you consume protein sources you are providing your body with amino acids which help regulate your brain through thoughts and feelings. In order to think clearly and maintain a mindset, it is important that your diet includes amino acids. This could be found in foods such as lean meat, nuts, cheese, soya products, eggs and fish.
Fats can be difficult to understand when you are under the impression that consuming fats are bad for you, however, it’s important to remember fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are an essential source in helping the brain function. Therefore you should be incorporating these into your diets with foods such as olive and sunflower oil, seeds, poultry and nuts.
If you decide to consume a large number of trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils, this could have a negative impact on your mood. Sometimes people turn to processed high-fat foods such as chocolate, biscuits or crisps when they feel low, but in reality, this is unlikely to make you feel any better.
Top Tip: When consuming foods only aim to reduce the amount of ‘trans fats’ you see. This is likely to be found in processed foods such as shop-bought cakes.
Importance of vitamins
When your body is lacking the correct amount of vitamins and minerals both your physical and mental health is likely to suffer. The best way for you to stay on top of this is to adopt a varied and balanced diet which involves a number of fruit, vegetables, meat or beans.
When your body lacks B vitamins it means you are not including enough food sources with B1, B3 or B12 within your diet. Foods such as dairy, fish, eggs and fortified cereals are enriched with B vitamins.
Iron-enriched foods will avoid you from feeling weak, tired or lethargic. Naturally increasing your intake of foods rich in iron such as red meat, poultry, beans and pulses will prove energy and improve mood.
Vitamins C will build on your immune system to fight disease, and control infections and is generally a powerful antioxidant. Fruit and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C including foods such as tomatoes, strawberries, peppers or citrus fruits.
Top Tip: You have probably heard this before but focusing on your 5 a day can make a key difference in improving your immune system and increasing vitamin intake.
Gut health is something which can reflect how you are feeling emotionally, if you are stressed or anxious this can slow down or speed up your gut. To ensure you stay on top of this and maintain a healthy gut you should be adopting a diet with fibre and fluids alongside exercise.
Fibre plays a really important part in your digestive system, consuming fibre-rich foods will help maintain a healthy gut. Incorporating foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, yoghurt and other probiotics will have a positive impact on your digestive system.
Fluids are key in ‘flushing’ your gut, when talking about fluids the best and most effective fluid is consuming 1-2 litres of water throughout a day. Water is the best way for you to stay on top of hydration and avoid added caffeine or sugar. This is not to say that tea, coffee, smoothies or juice don’t contribute to your daily fluids, it’s just important to be aware these will contain sugars and caffeine whereas water doesn’t.
When looking at exercise to improve gut health, we aren’t saying it’s intense exercises it’s more regular movement. If you work in a 9-5 desk job, look for ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine. Go for daily walks, attend an evening fitness class or simply just participate in movement each hour. Whatever it may be, the more movement the better your gut health will be.
Overall it is clear that the nutrition you undertake will have an impact on your overall well-being, by contributing to your energy, mood and mindset. Therefore it’s important you take away what you have read today and try and incorporate this into your nutrition habits. It may be that you start small and increase, but remember that small changes have long-term benefits.
If you are looking to learn more about nutrition explore a Level 3, Level 4 or Level 5 Nutrition Course with Future Fit and help build on knowledge and expertise in the field of nutrition.
This blog post was authored by Future Fit Training – a leading training provider, offering courses in nutrition, personal training and much more.
Header photo by Jessica Lewis Creative