In the weekly workshop on healthy habits led by nursing with patients admitted to the Galatea Clinic, it has been found that, even though they are health professionals, they are unaware of fundamental aspects of the relationship between a balanced diet and mental health. Although the brain represents only 2-3% of body weight, it is responsible for 20% of the energy we expend daily.
On the other hand, the work shifts, the care load, and the poor quality of meals in some workplaces, among other aspects, do not help preserve good routines or adequate meal times and can negatively impact psychophysical well-being.
One of the five workshop sessions is dedicated exclusively to raising awareness of the importance of diet care and promoting realistic and healthy eating habits.
Nutrients influence cognitive functions (memory, concentration and performance), emotional state and critical biological functions such as sleep and alertness. Among other hypotheses, it is argued that foods that affect behavior do so by influencing neurotransmitter levels, particularly serotonin. The foods that most affect this neurotransmission system are carbohydrates and proteins.
Three general principles should govern a balanced diet and diet:
- Cover the caloric or energy needs of the body.
Firstly, Individual energy needs depend on body composition, age, gender and level of physical activity. It is the only factor we can influence to modify our energy expenditure.
- Provide the necessary nutritional requirements:
- Make a balanced and varied diet eating foods from all groups.
Moreover, It is essential not to skip any meal and distribute energy and food eaten at each meal properly. The daily distribution should be:
25% for breakfast (in two doses, when getting up and mid-morning).
35% for food.
15% for a snack.
25% for dinner.
The Mediterranean diet allows, without great effort, to guarantee this balance. It is also essential to respect meals on time to not spend many hours fasting, avoid copious meals before bedtime, and avoid alcohol, tobacco, and stimulants.
Some foods provide essential nutrients for emotional well-being:
Essential amino acids:
However, Tryptophan (a building block of proteins). The brain uses it for the synthesis of serotonin. It helps induce sleep naturally (by acting as an internal clock and determining sleep-wake cycles), reduces anxiety and tension, and may have a mild antidepressant effect. Some foods rich in tryptophan are oily fish, eggs, turkey, chicken, legumes, dairy products, rice, fruits (kiwi, banana, pineapple, avocado), nuts, and cereals.
Precursor amino acids of dopamine (phenylalanine and tyrosine): dopamine is a neurotransmitter related to the body’s level of alertness, some cognitive functions (such as memory), and mood. Some foods rich in phenylalanine are eggs, meat, milk and dairy products, oily fish, legumes, nuts, and cocoa. Those that provide us with tyrosine have high amounts of protein, such as meats (poultry, beef and pork), eggs, cheese and legumes.
Vitamins: all of the B groups have a favorable influence on the functioning of the brain and the nervous system. The deficiency states of this group can cause irritability, mental confusion, and lack of concentration and memory. In the most severe cases, even lethargy and depression. Some foods rich in B vitamins are whole grains, legumes, eggs, fish, milk, beef and pork.
Minerals: involved in the synthesis of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. For example, iron deficiencies can affect the ability to concentrate, focus and remember and decrease cognitive performance. Sometimes, pictures of apathy and lack of energy can be due to anemia due to lack of iron (iron deficiency anemia). Some foods rich in iron are seafood, spinach, liver meat and other organs, legumes, red meat, quinoa, and tofu.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Recent studies have found an inverse relationship between the levels of this type of lipid and mood. Some foods rich in Omega-3 are olive oil, seeds, nuts, shellfish, avocado, and green leafy vegetables.
This is to say, So let’s not forget that a complete method to mental health requires a balanced diet. And we hope Balanced and Healthy Diet Tips you find informative; we regularly update tips for being healthy and fit. Please keep supporting us. Thank you.