The importance of our food choices for mental health
To run we need to fuel our bodies correctly ,this is simply our energy source so what we put into our system will have a big effect on our output/performance as well as our cognitive behaviour.
it took some time but I compiled a list from various stores of foods /brands that benefit our minds and body and decided to call this my nutribrain system which you can access at the Botton of this page
Clarity of mind/positivity/strong minded/mental strength call it what you want plays a huge part in running
which experts say it is 90% physiological and 10% physical.THe food we eat plays a role here.
Healthy eating is essential for memory, mood, and focus — the brain uses more than 20% of our caloric needs. Research studies have found that processes that happen inside of our bodies that lead to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia begin years before noticeable symptoms begin to appear. These processes include chronic inflammation of brain cells and blood vessels when our bodies break down unhealthy foods.
Unfortunately, many foods commonly consumed contain processed grains, high levels of refined sugars, salt, processed oils and fats, chemical additives, and preservatives, many of which are harmful to both our brain and body.
The effects of sugar and processed foods
Sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas, fruit juice, sports drinks, and specialty coffee beverages, often contain high fructose corn syrup, a type of sugar with a high glycemic index. This means that the sugar is rapidly absorbed by the gut, causing the body to produce a surge of insulin, a hormone that allows our body’s cells to either use or store sugar. Most of the sugars we consume are not used immediately by the body as fuel, but instead are stored as glycogen or converted into body fat. Repeated consumption of excessive sugars can contribute to obesity and, over time, the body may lose its ability to produce enough insulin, leading to diabetes.
In addition, excess sugar in the bloodstream interacts with proteins to form harmful compounds known as AGEs, or advanced glycation end products, that contribute to inflammation of blood vessels and other body tissues. Over time, chronic inflammation leads to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and degenerative brain diseases. AGEs are also consumed in our diet when we eat fried foods, meats cooked at high temperature, and dairy products.
Processed (factory-milled) grains, which include pasta, white rice, and unbleached flour (used to make cookies, crackers, pretzels, and other snack foods) are stripped of fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients during manufacturing, leaving behind simple carbohydrates or starches. Starches are absorbed in the gut very rapidly, just like sugars, and when consumed repeatedly, can lead to similar chronic inflammation and weight-related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
The Mediterranean diet and brain health
The Mediterranean diet is one of the planet’s healthiest plant-based options. Research has shown that it can help reduce cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, including dementia.
Key ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine include plant-sourced oils such as olive, avocado, sunflower, or canola oil; fresh fruits and vegetables; nuts and seeds; protein-rich legumes; fiber-rich whole grains, nuts, and seeds; and modest amounts of seafood (omega-3-rich fish, shrimp, scallops), lean meats (poultry, pork, or beef), and dairy products (aged cheeses, yogurt, and low-fat milk). The Mediterranean diet also includes a little taste of wine (maximum one glass per day for women, one to 2 glasses per day for men).
Studies show that even modest adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with improvements in executive function and memory, and a lower rate of cognitive decline, independent of the improvements noted in cerebrovascular risk factors, diabetes, and stroke.
Achieving a healthier brain and reducing your risk of developing dementia can be as straightforward as adopting a healthier lifestyle, including healthier food choices.
and now for the science behind it
The connection between diet and emotions stems from the close relationship between your brain and your gastrointestinal tract, often called the “second brain.” Here’s how it works: Your GI tract is home to billions of bacteria that influence the production of neurotransmitters, chemical substances that constantly carry messages from the gut to the brain. (Dopamine and serotonin are two common examples.) Eating healthy food promotes the growth of “good” bacteria, which in turn positively affects neurotransmitter production. A steady diet of junk food, on the other hand, can cause inflammation that hampers production. When neurotransmitter production is in good shape, your brain receives these positive messages loud and clear, and your emotions reflect it. But when production goes awry, so might your mo
Sugar, in particular, is considered a major culprit of inflammation, plus it feeds “bad” bacteria in the GI tract. Ironically, it can also cause a temporary spike in “feel good” neurotransmitters, like dopamine. That isn't good for you either, says Rachel Brown, co-founder of The Wellness Project, a consultancy that works with corporations to promote good health among employees. The result is a fleeting sugar rush that is followed shortly thereafter by a crash "that's terrible for your mood," she says.
When you stick to a diet of healthy food, you’re setting yourself up for fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus
food rules for running
Plan your regime
Devise a sensible eating plan that you can stick to, which will suit your lifestyle. Don’t set yourself unreasonable targets for food consumption. Unless you’re seriously overweight, it’s unlikely that your diet will need to undergo drastic restructuring.
Start by analysing what you are eating now. Keep a food diary for a week. Then sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself some questions about your dietary habits. Do you have breakfast? Do you feel tired and hungry by the time you run in the evening? If your diet is repetitive and boring you may not be getting the variety of foods necessary for adequate nutrient intake.
Eat little and often
Frequent snacking throughout the day is a sure way to avoid low blood sugar levels and tiredness by the time you get home for your run. Research shows that eating little and often is best for runners… as long as you’re eating the right things.
Make a point of taking healthy snacks to work with you so that you aren’t caught out. Avoid high-fat snacks such as crisps and chocolate, opting instead for snacks combining a healthy dose of protein and carbohydrate, which make the best fuel. Fruit, especially bananas with nut butters, a handful of nuts, plain popcorn, low-fat crispbreads and natural yoghurt are all excellent choices.
Don’t ignore the main meals
Regular sensible snacking is important, but proper meals are where good runner nutrition really counts. Pasta is the runner’s classic favourite, but there are plenty of other excellent high-carbohydrate foods, such as brown rice, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans and pulses and quinoa. Still, beware, some high-carbohydrate foods are also high in fat. Lasagne, thin-crust pizza, croissants and granola are some of the worst culprits.
Supplement those supplements
Instead of spending a small fortune on pills and potions to supplement your diet, try to ensure that you get the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat.
It’s a big mistake to think that a supplement will completely satisfy your nutritional needs. Taking a pill might give you the recommended daily amount of a particular vitamin, but you also need protein, minerals, fibre and energy in the form of calories, which no pill will provide.
Drink more water
Water is the body’s most important nutrient. It makes up between 50 and 60 per cent of your bodyweight and provides the medium in which most of the body processes occur. Aim to drink throughout the day, with a pint of water (or a sports drink) an hour before you run, and half a pint for every 30 minutes of running. On days when you run you should aim to consume five litres during the day, twice as much as is necessary on rest days.
Don’t forget your pre-race meal
You’re well-versed in the idea of carbo-loading, but there are still a few tricks of the trade that can help you to race at your best. Firstly, don’t overeat late the night before as this will make sleep harder to come by. Secondly, don’t think of that final plate of pasta on the eve of the race as your last meal. Your body will use up some of that food energy overnight, so make sure you have breakfast. European 5000 and 10,000m champion Sonia O’Sullivan chooses bread or cereal, coffee, perhaps a banana and lots of water, but the carbohydrate combination you opt for is up to you. Just cut right down on fat and protein, which take a long time to digest. Coffee is fine if it’s part of your normal routine – just be sure to drink plenty of water along with it.
Learn to drink on the run
Lengthy races – 10Ks and longer – often have drinks stations to replace lost fluids, and if you are running a marathon they will help you to scale the dreaded ‘wall’. Drinking on the run is an import element of technique and one you will need to practice prior to your race. Before you start the race, find out whether the drinks stations are providing water, or carbohydrate drinks as well. If you plan to use a carbo drink, be sure that you’ve tested it in practice runs. As you approach the station look right; most runners prefer to veer left to collect their drink, so the other side is often less crowded. Grab the cup with one hand and instantly cover the cup with the other if you plan to drink it as you run. Don’t be afraid to stop and walk; a few seconds spent drinking properly will easily pay off in terms of performance.
Eat for recovery
Immediately after a race or a hard run it’s important to refuel your body with protein and carbohydrates to restore your glycogen and repair the muscles. The first four hours after strenuous exercise is a crucial time for taking on new glycogen to replace what you’ve lost lost while working hard.
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