The new year is filled with resolutions of diets and exercise, usually with the goal of slimming down as we look forward to the summer months. But a focus on nutrition can actually have a significant impact on other aspects of our lives as well.  Here are some ways you can use a healthy diet feel better overall, in addition to shedding some extra pounds. 

 

Sleep

Diets that are high in fiber & low-fat proteins and low in saturated fats & sugars may contribute to better sleep habits. While too manys sugars may keep you up into the late hours of the night, low fat proteins are high in Vitamin B which are said to help regulate sleep hormones, such as melatonin. For more B vitamins, seek out more fish, poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy in your diet. 

Acid reflux, or heartburn, has been linked to sleep disorders, like insomnia and sleep apnea. Fried or fatty food, spicy foods, alcohol, and soda can all lead to heartburn that may disrupt sleep. Avoiding foods that can cause acid reflux can also help you to get better sleep. 

Focus & Concentration

Healthy fats, omega fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants, such as flavonoids or vitamin E, are nutrients known for their brain-boosting abilities. Eating food rich in these nutrients can increase attention, learning and memory abilities as well as decrease the risk of stroke and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. 

Berries, for example, have antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and help strengthen connections within the brain and even form new connections. This significantly boosts memory and learning. Additionally, flavonoids within dark chocolate may increase blood flow to the brain, especially to parts involved in memory and learning. Finally, fatty acids, like omega-3s found in oily fish, have been connected to better thinking ability because they help strengthen brain cells. 

Mental Health

There are many ways that the foods we eat have an effect on our mood. Carbohydrates, for example, can increase serotonin, a brain chemical that can make us feel sleepy and sluggish. Meanwhile, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are said to reduce symptoms, and lean proteins can increase alertness. 

Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein can help to protect your brain, fight fatigue, and boost your mood. It is also important to  limit sodium, saturated fat, and sugar. In addition to those foods already mentioned, avocados, turmeric, broccoli, eggs, and almonds can have a positive impact on brain health & mood.

Visit Qwell to book an appointment with a nutritionist