Mental fitness (also referred to as mental resiliency) can be defined as having access to the personal resources necessary to overcome the daily stressors of life. When the demands outweigh those resources, stress may result (coupled with tight muscles, short fuse, and the overwhelming desire to choke the life out of someone). With the lazy days of summer slowly transitioning into the frenzied days of school, fall schedules, and heavier family workloads, chronic stress may progressively settle in like a dense fog. The results of prolonged stress can include fatigue, forgetfulness, chronic pain, depression, and a weakened immune system (just to name a few). So if managing stress, and strengthening mental fitness is important to good health and vitality, what considerations can be made to put stress in it’s place?
The Dieticians of Canada, in a document, entitled Promoting Mental Health through Healthy Eating and Nutritional Care, have underlined the importance of various nutrients in supporting good mental health. Most of which are available in orange veggies, dark leafy greens, and whole grains. In addition, the document suggests a relationship between a diet high in sugar and fried foods and depression and anxiety. The benefits of adopting a whole-food based diet are numerous and include weight management (or loss in many cases), a reduced risk of chronic disease, better sleep, and higher level of cognitive functioning. Not to mention looking radiant and enjoying a high quality of life.
It isn’t surprising that when life gets busy, the drive-thru becomes an attractive option. These are the times to remember that healthy nutrition is more important than ever to keep stress under control and mental fitness strong. If fast food is the only option for the person on the go choose the salads, limit the sauces, and opt for water instead of a sugary drink. Make sit-down meals a priority as much as possible and snack on whole foods like veggies, fruits, and nuts.