Why Taking Control Of Your Body Health Impacts Your Mind
Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life. Think about it. Your brain is always “on,” even while you’re asleep. It takes care of your breathing and heartbeat, thoughts and movements, your consciousness and senses — it works hard every day, 24/7.
It therefore makes sense that you actively look for ways and pursue strategies to ensure that your brain is in its best state. This way you can lead a better, more vibrant life allowing you to work towards your goals with more purpose and passion.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re in control of your mind and life is through healthy living, exercising, and consciously choosing to eat clean foods. Besides affecting your health, what you eat each day affects how you feel now and in the future. It influences your emotions, ability to focus, and so much more. A diet consisting of clean food combined with regular exercise can improve your mental fortitude and fuel you towards your goals.
Today, through research, we continue to understand how interconnected our whole body system is. Medical science conceives the human body as a system of many subsystems at a variety of levels. This “modular” structure requires that different subsystems perform seamlessly for the body and mind to truly be in sync. But this is not always the case!
When one subsystem fails, the whole body system is jeopardized. That is why a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can have a massive impact on your mental fortitude and slump your daily performance. Let’s take a look at how all this works and what we can do to take charge of our minds.
How the Foods You Eat Affect Your Feelings and Behavior
The correlations between what you eat, how you feel, and how you ultimately behave cannot be overstated. What you eat can affect the chemical and physiological structure of your brain. Certain foods affect powerful mood-modifying brain chemicals called neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
Serotonin helps regulate appetite, inhibit pain, and mediate moods. This neurotransmitter is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with millions of nerve cells that run directly to the brain.
Once you eat, the inner processes of your digestive system play a critical role in the digestion process and also guides your emotions. Comparative studies between clean diets such as traditional Japanese diets and Mediterranean diets with the typical “western” diet have shown that clean eating improves the brain well-being and fortitude immensely and reduces inflammation tremendously.
Unlike the typical “western” diet that is characteristic of refined foods and sugars, traditional Japanese diets and Mediterranean diets tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, and fish. Our Standard American Diet (SAD), which is full of highly processed foods, can accelerate the risk of mild cognitive impairment and increase the risk of depression and ADHD.
This shows that what you feed your body has a massive impact on your state of mind, the degree of inflammation in your body, and plays a critical role in your physical and emotional well-being. But what exactly is clean food? How can you transition to clean eating? How can you possibly be mindful of what you eat?
What Is Clean Eating?
People may argue that fad diets come and go. This cannot be further from the truth! Fortunately, clean eating isn’t really a diet. It is a lifestyle - a conscious way of living that gives you more control over what you eat. It emphasizes being mindful of what you feed your body and being keen on the quality and quantity of food you eat.
Clean eating is a lifestyle that incorporates a diet pattern focused on fresh, whole foods. It does not limit the choice and amount of food that’s consumed. Clean eating involves choosing minimally processed, real foods over the highly-processed foods that are characteristic of a standard American diet. The idea is to choose sustainable foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.
Some example of clean food include:
Fresh fruit such as grapes, bananas, apples, oranges, and strawberries
Vegetables such as avocados, cabbages, brussel sprouts, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, lettuce, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
Lean meats/protein such as grass-fed chickens, eggs from grass-fed chickens, dried beans, unflavored nuts, plain nut butter, and grass-fed beef.
Grain (cereal) foods: these are whole-grain foods such as brown rice, air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice.
Dairy products such as milk from grass-fed cows, cheese, unsweetened non-dairy milk, and plain yogurt.
Integrating Clean Eating With Regular Exercising Program To Take Charge Of Your Life
Is clean eating and a regular exercise regime really important? Well, ABSOLUTELY!
Here is the thing; eating is just like any other habit – good or bad. Habits are created by the body’s rewards system that produces a brain hormone called dopamine. This system creates behavioral adaptations that have helped us navigate through our natural environment, and enabled us to thrive and survive over time.
Naturally, our bodies are wired to go for the easiest available options. It’s an adaptation instinct. Similarly, our brains are hardwired to want to perform certain behaviors repetitively, such as eating. During this process, the brain produces dopamine.
When you rush for the afternoon coffee, or that late driveway fast food, the brain is flooded with dopamine. Repetitive exposure to these processed junk foods can “hijack” your brain pathways and take away your natural decision-making process.
But here’s where it gets really interesting!
The neural pathways that cause sugar addiction, caffeine addiction, or junk food addictions are the same that lead people to drug and alcohol addiction. Studies have shown that brain pathways that evolved to respond to natural rewards such as “food addiction” are the same ones activated by addictive drugs.
This explains why you’ll often have a feeling of wanting to have sugar, coffee, or highly processed junk foods again, and again, and again.
The kicker is, these foods often act as “superstimuli” and can flood your brain with more dopamine than the normal dopamine shots of eating real, natural food like an egg or an apple.
Clean eating allows you first to take charge of your mind and reprogram the dopamine reward system. While this is not easy, it is worth it. Taking back control of your mind places you at a vantage point to make other life-changing decisions that can supercharge your life.
Regular exercises help modulate and boost the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin that greatly improve your mood and help the body and brain to stay supercharged. The controlled increase of dopamine levels during and after exercises helps upregulate the number of monoamine receptors in the brain’s reward system.
Eating a clean diet, coupled with regular exercise can therefore help correct various food addictions. Modulated production of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline through regular exercises will help you completely change your mind and outlook on life.
What Are the Benefits of Clean Eating And A Regular Exercise Regimen?
Clean eating nourishes your body with nutrient-dense and healthy alternatives such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish, legumes, hormone-free dairy, and grass-fed meats. A consistent diet of clean foods combined with a consistent exercising regimen has a multitude of benefits, including:
Combining clean eating habits with regular exercises helps to keep your body nourished and allows you to be energetic and highly productive throughout the day. You’re able to maintain a balanced hormonal system and kick off fatigue-inducing blood sugar spikes that are caused by processed food. Observing a clean diet and a sustained exercise program can significantly improve your wellbeing and keep you fuelled and laser-focused towards your goals and aspirations.
Pumped-Up Brain Power
This is perhaps the most life-changing benefit of a healthy living lifestyle. A sustained exercise program coupled with a clean diet nourishes the most vital body organ: the brain. Various clean foods deliver nutrients such as vitamin B and antioxidants that support memory and retention and boost brain function.
Exercises, on the other hand, triggers the production of dopamine and serotonin that helps improve cognitive functions such as memory, sustained attention, and problem-solving.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
As earlier mentioned, clean eating is a lifestyle change towards healthy living. It supports long-term health and lowers the risk of common cardiovascular diseases. Clean foods such as veggies, fruits, avocados, nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and olive oil help maintain vitalized blood vessels and lower harmful cholesterol levels.
Boosts Weight Loss
Most clean foods, such as fruits and veggies, are lower in calories than most processed food and can help with weight loss. When combined with regular exercises, clean eating can help people struggling with weight to shed extra fat.
If you’re attempting to shed extra fat, it is important that you adopt a well-thought-out exercise regimen and integrate it with clean eating habits. This way, you can ensure that you grow a lean body and keep your brain supercharged, and laser-focused on your daily activities.
Better Mental Health
Clean foods and regular exercises not only amps your physical wellbeing but also supports your mental health. Observing clean eating habits have been shown to lower the risk of depression while increasing mental fortitude.
Exercises, food, and mood are highly correlated. While bad carbs and refined sugar make the body feel sluggish and less-than-ready to take on the day, clean eating ensures that you maintain stability in your blood glucose levels, allowing you to wake up happy, and pumped up to get-up-n-go. Regular exercises also have potent effects of increasing mood-boosting neuromodulators such as endorphins.
Stronger Immune System
Clean foods bolster your immune system allowing your body to fight off viruses and diseases more effectively.
Better Will-Power And More Focus
A clean food diet, coupled with regular walks, runs and aerobic exercises, allows you to take back control of your life. You’re able to fight off addictions better without feeling deprived at all. Unlike processed food that causes brain fog and focus issues, clean eating allows your brain to remain smart, sharp, and focused throughout the day. This clarity is a major driver to a more fulfilling life.
Clean eating activates your body, allowing your hormonal system to self-regulate. Regular walks, runs, and aerobic exercises also allow for more hormonal balance, leaving you more relaxed and calm. When your hormones are balanced, your sleep quality is immensely improved, ensuring that you wake up feeling refreshed and pumped to take on a new day and new challenges.
Processed foods really take away your body’s vitality. Your strength is usually at an all-time low. Clean eating allows your cells to stay fuelled up and ensures a healthy, strong body. Clean foods such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, low-fat dairy products, tofu, legumes, and fish are rich in calcium that is necessary for strong bones and teeth.
Simple Ways to Start Clean Eating Today
Switching to a clean diet is really simple. Here are a few tips to help your transition to clean foods as seamless as possible:
Eat more vegetables and fruits
Limit processed foods
Steer clear of added sugar in any form. You can go for healthy options such as maple syrup and honey.
Stop eating refined carbs, white bread, and ready-to-eat cereals that usually have no nutritional value. Instead, go for whole grains and minimally processed grains such as steel-cut oats and grain bread.
Go for packaged nuts, vegetables, meat without preservatives, unhealthy fats, and added sugars.
Avoid vegetable oils and spreads. These are highly processed through chemical extraction.
Limit alcohol consumption
Replace refined grains with vegetables in recipes
Avoid packaged snack foods such as muffins, granola bars, and crackers as they contain high levels of refined sugars, refined grains, vegetable oils, and other unhealthy ingredients. As a replacement, nuts, fruits, and vegetables are excellent, tasty, and nutrient-dense options.
Make water your primary beverage. Unsweetened tea and coffee are also good choices
Eat whole fruits instead of drinking juices.
Choose ethically raised, grass-fed beef since this is free from harmful hormones and antibiotics.
Eat more lean protein that can be found in tofu, eggs, nuts, and fish.
The Bottom Line
Many of the convenient but hyper-processed foods and factory-farmed meats we eat continue to affect our daily way of lives. Clean eating and regular exercises ensure that you consciously unplug yourself from these modern-day snares, allowing you to rejuvenate your body and mind in unimaginable ways. This healthy living program enables your body to revitalize, and your brain to remain awake, present, engaged, focused, and refreshed to keep you on top of your goals and ambitions.
If you’re battling brain fog symptoms such as fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, and lack of focus, clean foods, and a sustained exercise regimen can help you boost your cognitive powers, enhance your memory, and protect you from neurodegenerative diseases.
By watching what you eat and integrating a sustainable exercise regimen into your daily routine, you can have a brain that allows you to experience and enjoy life fully.