A healthy mind in a healthy body… so the old saying goes. Yet whenever we think of healthy living we often overlook the mind-body connection.
Finding balance in our modern way of life can be challenging. Often we juggle work, family life in a world that seems going faster and faster every day. We cannot underestimate the link between our physical health and psychological well-being. This is the key to a happier life.
A Balanced Diet
The body cannot function without proper nutrition. It’s important to favour a diet that is high in vegetables and fruits, wholegrain, healthy protein with plenty of water while limiting high fat, sugary and salty food. Eating more vegetables and less meat will help your body stay in good health. Plant based protein sources such as pulses or beans are low in fat, cholesterol and high in fibre. The high fibre content helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. The same is true for Quorn® Meat Free products which provide a lean source of complete protein with plenty of fibre. Quorn Meat Free Chicken Pieces, Quorn Meat Free Mince, Quorn Meat Free Chicken Filet, Quorn Meat Free Steak Strips make great additions to your meals when you are trying to eat more of a plant-based diet.
A Happy Gut
Our gut is our largest immune organ, yet often the most overlooked. The gut microbiome is a complex environment of millions of micro-organisms that plays a central role in keeping us healthy. A healthy gut is essential to our well-being as it helps us fight diseases, digest and absorb essential nutrients, regulate metabolism and keep a strong immune system. Latest research also points towards a gut-brain connection and how a healthy microbiome can play a crucial role reducing anxiety, depression and other disorders.
Good bacteria feed on good food, while bad bacteria feed on poor dietary choices (such as high sugar food). Often we hear about probiotics, the microorganisms living in our gut and essentials to our immune system. In order for these good bacteria to thrive, they need healthy food (known as prebiotics) to feed on. Fibre is an essential source of prebiotics and eating fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats and fermented food is vital to keep your gut and mind happy.
Whatever your age, with our mostly sedentary lifestyles, daily exercise and physical activity are essential. These are critical to keeping a healthy weight and promoting joint flexibility. When it comes to our minds, exercise releases endorphins, the crucial happy hormones that are so helpful in coping with stress, anxiety and depression. Regular exercise is also key to a better night’s sleep. While it is not always easy, it’s important to make time for exercise. A good place to start is to go to bed earlier so you can fit a workout routine first thing in the morning.
Kids are insatiable in always wanting to discover more, yet curiosity is an important quality we tend to lose as we get older. We become blasé, settling into our old ways reluctant to expand our horizons. Whatever our interests, hobbies or passions, learning something new benefits mental well-being. Curiosity challenges us to learn something something new today. Maintaining an interest gives structure to our life, an indispensable guide when we feel off-balance or when we get older.
Exercise Your Brain
Computers, TV, calculators and mobile phones are all starving our brain of essential exercise. We have become passive, relying on the convenience of modern technology to remember numbers, appointments or shopping lists. Yet physical activity of the mind is as important as physical activity of the body. The more you exercise your mind, the better it functions stimulating connections between different brain areas. Doing puzzles, crosswords, memory games, taking up a foreign language or reading a book all help to keep your mind sharp and prevent cognitive decline.
One of the secrets of a happier and more fulfilling life lies in cultivating a sense of community. This often gets overlooked between work and family commitments. Isolation often creates feeling of loneliness and depression. Contributing to a local community has been shown to lead to happier, healthier and even longer lives. Volunteering can help connect you to others fostering daily routine and a sense of purpose and belonging, two things that we tend to lose the older we get.
Article and image by Annabelle Randles, founder of The Flexitarian. Visit her blog here: https://www.theflexitarian.co.uk