What's THE diet for mental health?
Welcome to The 5-Minute Recharge with 1 quote, 3 ideas (including some healthy food for thought!), and a 5-minute challenge to supercharge your wellness.
The Marathon to Wellness
“It is possible to reverse the consequences of aging on our blood vessels with real-world exercise in just six months.” ― Charlotte Manisty of University College London reflects on the results of a study of first-time marathon runners reminding us that exercise is a miracle drug and it's never too late to start taking it
BULLIES BREAK BODIES Being bullied at work has psychological consequences that researchers have chronicled including depression, anxiety, and stress-related complaints, but did you know that being bullied can also break your heart? Recent studies using Scandinavian public health records have uncovered that people who reported being bullied were 1.59 times more likely to develop cardiac-related illness, such as heart disease or stroke, and have a 1.46 times increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers speculate that chronically elevated stress hormones and dysfunctional coping behaviours such as drinking or excessive eating may be responsible for bullying's effect on the body. But that's not all. Colleagues who witness bullying may also experience a decline in mental and physical wellbeing. Experts advise that if you observe workplace bullying you must talk about it, either with the victims (offering support and comfort) or others (formulating a plan to address the problem, or sharing experiences).
“It's more imperative than ever to create a collaborative culture in which bullying is taboo.” ― Christian Jarrett, BBC Workplace
ENDOCANNABINOIDS ARE LEGAL EVERYWHERE If you're looking for motivation to move, look no further than Kelly McGonigal's The Joy of Movement that we mentioned in last week's newsletter, but it's worth repeating: exercise makes us better, healthier, and more socially connected. Our bodies are designed to give us a feel-good reward when we move, but it may surprise you that it's in the moderate range of exertion that you get the highest high. Endocannabinoids, the “don't worry be happy” chemicals that cannabis mimics but your body can produce naturally, are released as a reward when you keep moving and refuse to give up...
“After a long run everything seems right with the world.” – Adharanand Finn
THE BEST DIET FOR MENTAL HEALTH A growing body of evidence suggests that diet not only affects you physically, but may also have significant effects on mood and mental wellbeing. In The 5-Minute Recharge, we recommend the DASH diet for mental health that is suggestive of speed but isn't a fast-food diet: it's Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, a heart-healthy diet that also benefits the mind. Although the DASH diet has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, especially depression, the Mediterranean diet has also been linked to a reduced risk of depression and improved cognitive function. Addie is grateful to have been born into the Mediterranean diet, and Lynne's grateful to have married into it. With nearly half the American population projected to be obese or very obese by 2030, the need for a healthy diet that nourishes both body and mind could not be greater. Whether you DASH or go totally Mediterranean, or combine the two doesn't matter. Think of the chart above as a menu for mental health and select the items from each diet that are most appealing to you. Bon appetit! (or, as they say in the Greek heartland of the Mediterranean diet, καλή όρεξη!)
“It is becoming clear that the negative consequences of a poor-quality diet can impair mental health and cognitive function which is likely to be exacerbated with age.” – Roger A.H. Adan et al, from “Nutritional psychiatry: Towards improving mental health by what you eat,” European Neuropsychopharmacology, Volume 29, Issue 12, December 2019
1 5-MINUTE RECHARGE CHALLENGE A Variation on the Resolution Theme
“My New Year’s resolution? I will be less laz.” – Jim Gaffigan
Have you broken your new year’s resolution yet? Did you even bother to make a resolution? According to research conducted by Strava, the social network for athletes, today, January 12, is the fateful day when most people report failing on their New Year’s resolutions.
Rather than a resolution prone to failure, we recommend that you select a theme to guide you through a new year and set you up for success.
What do you want more of in your life? Can you describe it in a few thematic words? Your theme should be strong enough to cast its light on different areas of your life, yet specific enough to be meaningful and motivational to you. Here are a few more questions to spark your thinking.
What are you sick of?
What do you want more of?
How do you want to feel?
Take five minutes to write down a few possible themes. Play with the words until you find a combination that works for you. Once you have a theme, write a sentence or two about why it’s important to you. Refer to your answers to the three questions to find the power in your why.
Addie’s company AGS did this exercise and here are a few of their themes:
Be active Feed mind, body and soul Set realistic goals. Achieve. Repeat.
After getting literally burned when she didn’t express her discomfort, Lynne’s theme for 2020 (and beyond) is to forget she’s an introvert and “speak up” as much as possible.
Once you’ve settled on a theme, consider these words to be your marching orders. Repeat them every morning when you wake up to plant the seeds of intention for the day and watch your life grow.
“Our intentions create our reality.” ― Wayne Dyer
Wishing you the best of intentions and growth, Lynne & Addie