Destiny Matthews, MS, Dietetic Intern, Texas A&M University
Reviewed by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD
Edited by Andi Champion, CHEF
To have a healthy body, it’s important to first take care of your mind. Nutritious foods, which are essential for a growing brain, can help fuel your mind and body. Other factors, such as lifestyle habits also play a major role in mental and physical health. Check out our tips on the simple steps you can take keep your mind in tip top shape.
Choose Better-for-You Foods:
Try the MIND Diet. This diet is based off the Mediterranean diet and includes nutrient packed foods to support a healthy mind for growing adolescents. Foods emphasized in this diet include whole grains, nuts, beans, colorful vegetables, poultry, fish, and olive oil (Volpe, 2018). By incorporating more of these types of food into your diet and eating less fast food, fried foods, sweets, and butter, your mind and body will begin to feel and perform better (Volpe, 2018).
Our thoughts and feelings about food matter as well! One study showed that youth who were mindful while eating were more aware of what they put into their body and made healthier food choices (Kumar, 2018).
Try these tips for practicing mindfulness during mealtime.
- Relax before eating.
- Notice the color and smells of the food you’re about to eat.
- Pay attention to how hungry or full you are and your serving sizes.
- Eat slowly and in small bites. Make sure to enjoy each bite!
- Be grateful for food and where food comes from.
Your sleeping habits can affect your brains health. Studies have shown better memory and controlled emotions in youth who nap or a get a full night’s sleep (Dutil, 2018). Make bedtime a priority in your household so that everyone has enough time to recharge and relax before the next day.
Physical activity can benefit the mind and body. Not only does being active increase endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body, it can also speed up your thinking (de Azevedo). You will notice this benefit if you engage in physical activity for 1 hour at a time for at least 2 weeks. See if you can be active for longer than 2 months for the best results (Cotman, 2007).
- Knol, L. et al. Serum Antioxidant Capacity is related to Eating with Awareness. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 119, Issue 10, A148
- Wang, Ying et al. Dietary Total Antioxidant Capacity Is Associated with Diet and Plasma Antioxidant Status in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 112, Issue 10, 1626 – 1635
- Riediger, Natalie D. et al. A Systemic Review of the Roles of n-3 Fatty Acids in Health and Disease. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 109, Issue 4, 668 – 679
- Volpe SL. Nutrition and Brain Health. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. 2018;22(5):49-50. doi:10.1249/FIT.0000000000000414.
- Caroline Dutil, Jeremy J. Walsh, Ryan B. Featherstone, Katie E. Gunnell, Mark S. Tremblay, Reut Gruber, Shelly K. Weiss, Kimberly A. Cote, Margaret Sampson, Jean-Philippe Chaput. Influence of sleep on developing brain functions and structures in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Sleep Medicine Reviews. Volume 42, 2018, Pages 184-201, ISSN 1087-0792. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smrv.2018.08.003. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1087079218300881)
- de Azevedo KPM, de Oliveira Segundo VH, de Medeiros GCBS, et al. Effects of exercise on the levels of BDNF and executive function in adolescents: A protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine. 2019;98(28):e16445. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000016445.
- Carl W. Cotman, Nicole C. Berchtold, Lori-Ann Christie. Exercise builds brain health: key roles of growth factor cascades and inflammation. Trends in Neurosciences, Volume 30, Issue 9, 2007, Pages 464-472, ISSN 0166-2236, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tins.2007.06.011. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166223607001786)
- Kumar S, Croghan IT, Biggs BK, et al. Family-Based Mindful Eating Intervention in Adolescents with Obesity: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial. Children (Basel). 2018;5(7):93. Published 2018 Jul 6. doi:10.3390/children5070093