Eating a Nutritious Diet
One of the most important positive lifestyle changes you can make is improving your diet. Eating more nutritious foods and getting the right nutrients benefits both your physical and mental health. Here are some diet changes to consider:
What are some nutritious foods you should eat more of?
Fruits and vegetables - aim for 5-9 servings per day. They provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Whole grains - choose 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, quinoa. They provide fiber, protein, B vitamins.
Lean protein - eat fish, skinless poultry, beans, lentils, nuts. Protein builds muscle and keeps you feeling full.
Healthy fats - consume olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish. They help absorb vitamins and promote heart health.
In addition to eating better, another critical lifestyle change is increasing physical activity. Regular exercise provides enormous benefits for both physical health and mental wellbeing.
How much exercise do you need? Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Some examples include:
Brisk walking - 30 mins a day, 5 days a week
Jogging - 20-30 mins 3 days a week
Swimming - 30 mins 3 days a week
Strength training - 30 mins 2 days a week
Start slow if you are new to exercise. Taking 10 minute walks, 3 times a day is a good starting point. Slowly increase the duration and intensity as your fitness level improves. Joining group classes like Zumba or yoga can make exercise more engaging.
Chronic stress takes a major toll both mentally and physically. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is a key lifestyle change.
What are some common signs of excess stress?
Lack of focus
Unmanaged stress can negatively impact your immune system, gut health, and more. That’s why stress reduction is so critical. Effective strategies include:
Daily meditation - quiet the mind and promote relaxation
Yoga - combines physical movement with breathing exercises
Spending time in nature - being outdoors is calming
Laughing - releases feel good hormones that counter stress
Talking to friends and family - social support reduces stress
Setting priorities - focus your time and energy on what’s important
Saying no - don’t take on too many responsibilities