The goal of this blog is to bring awareness to various topics related to nutrition and improving overall health using an evidence based approach. I truly hope you enjoy!

xoxo, Coach Jassy

Featured Blog

Get Moving to Get Well- Exercise and Mental Wellness

By Jasmine Morrow CHC, MSCN- Student

January 11, 2023

Welcome back for part two of four of our 4 steps to improving mental wellness blog series. I hope you enjoyed and gained something that you can apply to your own health and wellness journey. As you may have guessed from the title, this week we will be exploring how exercise is not only good for your health but also the benefits it may have on your mental wellness.

“All parts of the body, if used in moderation and exercised in labors to which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy and well developed and age slowly; but if they are unused and left idle, they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly.”

-Hippocrates

The lack of physical exercise has become a major public health problem and has been classified as a leading cause of chronic disease and can even lead to death. It has been associated as a cause to approximately 40 different diseases including immunity, cognitive dysfunction, depression and anxiety. By adding in just 30 minutes a day of physical activity you can decrease your risk of developing these chronic issues as well as many others.

Exercise is seen as a noninvasive therapy to improve depression, anxiety, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzhiemer’s, overall cognition, and even drug addiction. Exercise increases the amount of BDNF, Brain- Derived Neurotrophic Factor, protein in the brain which is needed for synaptic plasticity, cognitive recognition, and memory. Exercise also helps to release other neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters all influence the brain’s reward system and have been shown to increase after just 7 days of consecutive exercise. Likewise, exercise-induced release of the neurotransmitters help skeletal muscles release enzymes that help to fight stress-induced depression, drug addiction and increase neuronal plasticity in the hippocampus.

Mental wellness is not only mental health specific. Mental wellness includes building our self-esteem, being comfortable with our physical appearance, vitality and overall well being, including our mood! Exercise helps to bring about distraction, self- efficacy, and social relationships. Exercise offers an outlet to forget about stressful stimuli thus improving mood during and after physical activity. It provides a challenging activity that can help to build self confidence and improve mood. Lastly, the social relationships that are often built through physical activities play an important role in boosting one’s mood and self confidence.

Benefits

  1. Low impact physical activity helps to improve balance and strength in older adults which in turn helps to improve their quality of life and decrease their anxiety surrounding their fear of falling.

  2. Exercise helps to improve mood, self-esteem, physical appearance, vitality, and overall well-being.

  3. It can decrease the risk of developing chronic mental illnesses such as addiction, depression, and anxiety.

Challenges

  1. Although moderate exercise can be very beneficial to improving mental wellness, intense exercise can have the opposite effect by deteriorating one’s mood and leading them into a depressive state.

  2. Those battling addiction have a risk of becoming obsessed with exercising as the activity replaces their drug of choice. This can lead to anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders.

  3. Although exercise can help with reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, there is not enough research to prove it can help reduce the progression of the disease.

References

  1. Deslandes A, Moraes H, Ferreira C, et al. Exercise and mental health: many reasons to move. Neuropsychobiology. 2009;59(4):191-198. doi:10.1159/000223730

  2. Peluso MA, Guerra de Andrade LH. Physical activity and mental health: the association between exercise and mood. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2005;60(1):61-70. doi:10.1590/s1807-59322005000100012

  3. Ruegsegger GN, Booth FW. Health Benefits of Exercise. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2018;8(7):a029694. Published 2018 Jul 2. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a029694

  4. Gschwind YJ, Kressig RW, Lacroix A, Muehlbauer T, Pfenninger B, Granacher U. A best practice fall prevention exercise program to improve balance, strength / power, and psychosocial health in older adults: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Geriatr. 2013;13:105. Published 2013 Oct 9. doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-105

Improving Nutrition for Mental Wellness

By Jasmine Morrow, CHC, MSCN- Student

January 4, 2023

Happy New Year! This is part 1 of the 4 part Mental Wellness Series to bring awareness to mental wellness throughout all of January. I will be providing some information and evidence based tips that you can use to start improving your mental wellness. This week our focus will be on how nutrition can improve your overall mental well- being. So let’s go ahead and dive in!

One of the reasons I decided to go back to school to get my masters in clinical nutrition was because it allowed me to tie my two loves of helping others grow from past traumas and nutrition together. We often do not realize why we have certain habits and how those habits may affect our mental wellbeing. There’s a lot of new research available linking nutrition and mental health. Many healthcare professionals recommend a healthy diet that includes majority fruits and vegetables, nuts, and legumes. It is recommended to have a moderate amount of poultry, eggs and dairy products, while limiting the amount of red meat. Some nutritionists/ dieticians may also recommend A mediterranean diet, which we will discuss in a later series. It is important to note that there continues to be research completed surrounding nutrition and mental wellness with respect to neuroscience and psychiatry. Research has shown that nutrition is directly linked to the health of the hippocampus which is associated with learning, memory and mood.

Carbohydrates

The glycemic index is typically related to those who are diagnosed with diabetes. It is important to recognize which carbs have a higher glycemic index because the higher the glycemic index the more detrimental to your psychological health. Carbohydrates with a higher glycemic index tend to be the more refined carbs and sugars. Refined carbohydrates also have a significant effect on mood and increase depressive symptoms, even in those not diagnosed with depression. The carbs we eat also affect our specific hormone levels that can affect our mood and well-being including cortisol, growth hormone, and adrenaline. Changes in these hormones often result in anxiety and irritability.

I have listed a few benefits and challenges below with regards to how improving nutritional habits, and our relationship with food, can have a positive effect on our mental wellbeing.

Benefits

  1. A healthy, nutritious diet benefits not only physical health but also psychological wellbeing.

  2. Consuming a healthy diet has been known to help reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.

  3. By improving your nutrition as a means to improve your mental wellness, you help to de-stigmatize mental health concerns to make them more universal.

Challenges

  1. It is common to indulge in comfort foods during high stress times, making it necessary to address our relationship with food

  2. There may be other lifestyle factors such as financial and environmental determinants that can affect the relationship between those at risk for mental illness and their nutrition.

References:

  1. Owen L, Corfe B. The role of diet and nutrition on mental health and wellbeing. Proc Nutr Soc. 2017;76(4):425-426. doi:10.1017/S0029665117001057

  2. Firth J, Gangwisch JE, Borisini A, Wootton RE, Mayer EA. Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing? [published correction appears in BMJ. 2020 Nov 9;371:m4269]. BMJ. 2020;369:m2382. Published 2020 Jun 29. doi:10.1136/bmj.m2382

Disclaimer

The information provided in this blog are created by Jasmine Morrow, Certified Health Coach and current MSCN Student at Sonoran University. Its purpose is for informational use only. You should speak with your healthcare provider to use this information to best support your overall health wellbeing.

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