Food! Who doesn’t love it? In honor of World Food Day on October 16th we decided to write this month’s blog all about it. One of the very first health lessons that we learn in school is of the five basic food groups: Vegetables, Fruit, Dairy, Meats, and…….? Whole grains! We are taught this lesson because knowing which foods are healthy is essential to understanding our body’s physical state. In fact, most medical experts agree that your diet is not only the key to avoiding chronic diseases, but is also critical in balancing our mental and even social well-being.
New studies are revealing the link between your diet and your mental health. Experts are finding that consuming higher than average amounts of fast foods, sweets, salty snacks, and caffeine cause mental distress. These symptoms include worry, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Regularly consuming fruits and vegetables on the other hand has been found to increase happiness and lead to better sleep. Foods that are high in folic acid, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and magnesium have an even bigger impact on positive mental health.
One useful tip is that is that it’s not only what you put in your body, but when you put it in. Eating breakfast regularly is the most important meal of the day. It provides your body with the fuel to get you going and releases endorphins that put you in a good mood. Eating too close to bedtime can contribute to broken sleep due to indigestion. Three hours is recommended between your last meal and bedtime!
Here are some other simple tips to try that can make a big difference in how you look and feel:
- Cut the sodium- use lite salts and substitute with herbs.
- Increase your fiber intake- raw vegetables and fruits are a great source of fiber.
- Color your plate- creating a variety of colors means adding fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
- Keep a BIG supply of healthy snacks on hand!
We all know that diets are HARD! Especially for first responders who are in the field and spend most of their day in transit. So, try making small adjustments to your diet to find out what works best for you. Preparing your meals in advance can really help and will save you money as well. EMS1 offers these quick and easy recipes for those on-the-go EMS Food Recipes.
In a world that can be increasingly stressful, treat yourself to a healthy diet for better physical and mental performance!