Eating a healthy and balanced diet doesn’t just benefit your body, it feeds your mind as well. Food is an integral part of mental health.
Individual finances, responsibilities including caring for children, work or study as well as religion and culture affects what, when and how much someone eats.
But a varied diet – with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein and plenty of water – promotes energy, aids sleep and is associated with better mental health outcomes.
National food guidelines recommend:
- Five servings of vegetables a day
- Two servings of fruit
- Four to six servings of grains
- Between two and three servings of meat, poultry, fish, eggs or legumes, nuts and tofu
- Between two and four servings of dairy or dairy alternatives
It does not mean you have to eat ‘perfectly’. Rigid food rules can increase the risk of eating disorders and food is meant to be enjoyed. But shortchanging your body – with excess alcohol, or a reliance on highly processed and fast foods – also shortchanges your mind. A poor diet can exacerbate stress, poor moods, tiredness and worsen sleep.
Tips for eating healthier :
- If you’re not a big fan on vegetables or fruit, disguise them in sauces or smoothies
- Try to practise mindfulness around food: set aside time to notice how it smells and tastes and the experience of eating it
- Choose foods that is colourful, higher in fibre and lower in added sugar when possible
Flourish Australia can provide day-to-day support including around eating and staying physically well.
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