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Improve Your Mental Health With These Tips

By Rachel Carver

We know we need to take care of our bodies. We need to prioritize movement and follow a balanced diet. But we also need to take care of our mental health.

You know mental and physical health are important. But busy lives can make getting in your daily workout difficult, let alone trying to focus on your mental state. But there is some good news. Some of our regular habits may keep us physically healthy and sharpen our brains. Read on for the details.

The Research

Evidence suggests exercise, proper nutrition, and quality sleep may positively impact our mental health as well as our physical health. University of Otago researchers conducted a study to determine which one of the three elements might help the most with mental hygiene. After studying more than 1,100 young adults from New Zealand and the United States, the researchers found that sleep, physical activity, and diet, in that order, made a person more likely to have good mental health.

Quality Sleep

The study findings stressed quality over quantity. Sleeping for less than eight hours or for more than 12 hours increased depression and lowered overall well-being. However, sleep quality made more impact on the overall well-being of participants than the amount of sleep.

Sleep can impact your stress, mood, and anxiety levels. It also influences your immune system and your scale number. To get quality sleep, focus on a bedtime routine. Create a sleep-friendly environment. And avoid screens and alcohol an hour before bedtime.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise has been linked to an improved mood. Though the feel-good hormones released by exercise are only temporary, regular activity gives you many long-term benefits. A 2019 JAMA Psychiatry study found replacing sedentary time with 15 minutes of vigorous exercise such as circuit training, or with an hour of walking or jogging, reduced the risk of depression by 26%. In other words, regular exercise can improve your waistline and give you a better outlook on life.

Eat Raw Fruits and Vegetables

The University of Otago study found participants had higher mental health scores when they consumed 4.8 daily servings of raw fruits and vegetables. Some contain high amounts of Vitamin C and E, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can improve mental health. These include:

  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Berries

The Bottom Line

Small changes can improve your physical and mental health. And we can improve both aspects at once by starting simple with good sleep, nutritious food, and exercise.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Montgomery, Ala.

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