Mind

Nutrition
Nutrition

A healthy mind boost overall health, improving mood and mental sharpness. Simple activities like mindfulness and meditation can make a big difference.

Image for Mood boosting foods: Try these 10 foods for good mood & energy

Mood boosting foods: Try these 10 foods for good mood & energy

Increasingly, more research is emerging that supports the mental health benefits of eating a healthy diet, specifically low glycaemic index (GI) diets that are rich in vegetables, fibre, protein, and healthy fats. (1) Conversely, high GI diets are linked to increased risk of mental health disorders, depression, and psychological distress. (2) General mood has been shown to be improved on a high protein, low GI diet when compared to a high GI diet, (3) attributed to the superior diet quality of the low GI diet pattern. For example, in a 2019 study, adults following a low GI diet ate more veggies (around 24 grams of fibre per day), nearly 100 grams of protein per day, and 40% of their calories from fats, and had lower scores for depressive symptoms, mood disturbance, and fatigue. (3) What are the common characteristics of these foods? First, they are low glycaemic index, meaning they have a minimal impact on raising glucose after a meal. Additionally, foods in the diets studied were rich in magnesium, B vitamins, and omega-3 fats, which are key nutrients for the nervous system that affects mood. (2) Further, high fibre foods like vegetables support a healthy gut microbiome, which has implications on mood via a connection called the gut-brain axis. (4) 10 mood-boosting foods: 1. Salmon Fatty fish like salmon not only contain high levels of protein (20 grams of protein per 100-gram portion), salmon is also rich in omega-3 fats, which play a role in brain processes related to the origin of anxiety and depression (5) Lingo tip: Did you know you can cook salmon directly from frozen? Try pan-frying, baking, air frying, or grilling filets directly from the freezer. Just rinse under water, then cook. Finish with seasoning. 2. Blueberries Berries are bursting with anthocyanins, a compound that helps the body overcome stress. (6) Blueberries in particular have been shown to help adults make decisions more quickly and accurately, supporting sharp brain function. (7) The same study also found the single serving of wild blueberries improved glucose and insulin responses to a meal. Plus, blueberries have been shown to increase positive mood in young adults. (8) Lingo tip: Keep frozen berries on hand for smoothies. Or add fresh blueberries to a green salad for a sweet flavour burst. 3. Raspberries These brightly pigmented berries contain several essential micronutrients, dietary fibres, and polyphenolic components, specifically ellagitannins and anthocyanins. They are among the highest whole food sources of dietary fibre, providing 6.5 grams of fibre per 100 gram weight. (9) Lingo tip: Add raspberries to Greek yoghurt for a high-protein snack. 4. Walnuts Walnuts have the ability to improve mood. (10) They contain a number of potentially neuroprotective compounds like vitamin E, folate, melatonin, several antioxidative polyphenols and significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Lingo tip: Keep walnuts on hand for an easy snack – in your desk drawer, purse or book bag, or in your car. 5. Coffee Cognitive benefits from coffee are typically attributed to caffeine, but there are many compounds in coffee that likely have a synergistic effect on mood, including the amino acid L-theanine and chlorogenic acids. Benefits are seen around 100 mg caffeine per day, which is the amount of caffeine in 240 mL (about one cup) of brewed coffee (moderation is up to 400 mg per day). (11) Lingo tip: Glucose responses to caffeine vary by individual, and black coffee generally is the most glucose friendly. If you don't take your coffee black coffee, stick to adding in unsweetened milk and limit added sugars. 6-8. Spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts Folate, the B vitamin in these greens, supports the body making the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are all strongly linked to mental health. (1) What’s more, around 90% of your body's serotonin is made in the gut, (12) which is affected by dietary factors like fibre. In fact, high vegetable intakes (>8 portions per day) is associated with higher positive affect, lower negative affect, and greater eudaemonic well-being. (1) Lingo tip: See how many meals you can add greens to: toss a handful of spinach into scrambled eggs at breakfast, dip broccoli in hummus for a filling snack, have a side of roasted brussels sprouts with your dinner. 9. Fermented foods Microbes found in fermented foods, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species, may influence brain health via direct and indirect pathways. (13) Lingo tip: While Greek yoghurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium, the beneficial bacteria amounts vary by brand. Look for kefir, a drinkable style high-protein yoghurt, sauerkraut, or kimchi as other ways to add fermented foods into your day. 10. *Dark* chocolate The mood and cognition-enhancing effects of cocoa and chocolate are linked to its flavanols, methylxanthines, salsolinol, and orosensory properties. (14) Dark chocolate (85% or greater cacao) acts as a prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria of the gut, which may improve negative emotional states via the gut-brain axis. (15) Lingo tip: Combine mixed nuts with mini dark chocolate chips for a sweet treat. A final note from Lingo Mood and well-being are influenced by a variety of factors; diet is just one of them. And eating a low-glycaemic diet and staying steady can contribute to your overall health and well-being. Using a CGM like Lingo is a tool to understand the relationship between your health and glucose. Tracking your food, exercise, and stress in the app can help you visualise the impact these have on your glucose. Mood is another metric to observe as it relates to the big picture of your health.

 
Image for Reducing fatigue and mood swings with Lingo

Reducing fatigue and mood swings with Lingo

Steady glucose. Steady life. When our diets are packed with simple sugars rather than proteins, vegetables, and fats, our glucose tends to quickly rise and crash, again and again. These intense fluctuations take our energy levels and mood on a wild rollercoaster ride. While many different factors affect our mood and energy levels, Lingo empowers you to find balance and embark on your journey to be your healthiest, best self. A good place to start is by looking closely at what happens to your glucose levels roughly one to one and a half hours after eating a high-sugar meal or snack. Watch as your glucose climbs, then crashes. Note how you feel when your glucose falls rapidly. Are you tired and hungry? Irritable or feeling low? Equally, notice what happens to your glucose after you’ve had a balanced meal or even when you’ve had a balanced meal before that sugary scoop of your favorite ice cream. Notice that your mood improves when your glucose stays steadier? You’re not alone. Research has found that individuals who eat a diet that is high in sugar (the same kind known to lead to glucose highs and lows) are more likely to experience mood disturbances and fatigue compared to those who eat a diet with less simple sugars and carbs.(1) Your glucose rollercoaster will be a much smoother ride when you use personalised insights from Lingo to change your habits, manage your meals and snacks, and work towards your best self yet.

 
Image for 18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

18 Wellness New Year’s Resolution Ideas for 2024

With the start of a new year around the corner, many people gear up to set their New Year’s resolutions. Not surprisingly, “lose weight” and “get in shape” tend to be at the top of people’s lists each year; a poll from Forbes in October 2023 (1) found that 48% of respondents reported “improved fitness” as their resolution, and 34% reported “lose weight.” While improving your health is an admirable goal to tackle, putting New Year’s resolutions in these vague terms often doesn’t set you up for success. Getting in shape, losing weight, prioritising your health, improving your wellness — these all require a multi-pronged approach that involves setting habits, lifestyle changes, and being consistent. The decision to improve your well-being is the first step, but it’s important to take any New Year’s resolution and put it into the context of goal setting. To achieve your goals, it’s a good idea to map out the actions you’ll need to take. Instead of just promising yourself that you’ll improve your health and well-being in 2024, plan to take concrete steps in the right direction. Below, we’ve outlined some New Year’s resolutions that will benefit your overall well-being as well as tangible tips you can incorporate. Remember: progress is better than perfection, and establishing gradual habits and being consistent will help you achieve your goals. New Year's Resolution Ideas for Wellness and Well-being 1. Move more Whether you are an avid exerciser or just starting to think about getting more activity in your day, setting a goal to move more can be a great way to improve your health (2). Since many adults have desk jobs, they often spend most of their day sitting and not moving much, even if they are regular exercisers. In fact, it’s the movement that you do outside of a formal workout that really adds up to benefit your overall health. (3,4) Finding time to move throughout the day may also help lift your mood and can help keep your glucose steady, which is key for metabolic health and long-term well-being. (5) Studies have shown that even short breaks taken throughout the day to stand up or go on a brief walk can help to keep glucose steady, especially following meals (6). Action ideas: Set a timer on your phone to stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour. Take short, 5-minute walking breaks between meetings. Plan a 10–20-minute walk after lunch. Walk with your partner, family, or friend after dinner — or take the dog for a solo stroll. Take some of your meetings on the phone while walking (outdoors or on a treadmill). Aim to increase your step count by 2,000 – 3,000 per day (7) 2. Choose more whole foods As life gets busy, it can be easy to grab convenience processed foods that are pre-packaged and shelf stable. However, these ultra-processed foods can negatively impact our health and well-being. Not only are they low in nutrients, but they are designed to be highly palatable so that you’ll eat more of them. (8) These processed foods are high in sugar, calories, and other additives that make it tough to stop eating them and recognise our fullness cues, which leads to glucose spikes that affect our mood, energy, and sleep (9). Setting a goal to reduce the amount of ultraprocessed foods you eat can be a great way to prioritise your health for the New Year. Think of ultraprocessed foods as those found in boxes and bags, often have a long shelf life, and usually made with a lot of ingredients, including unfamiliar additives. Some examples are breakfast cereals, pretzels, crisps, sodas, instant noodles, oven pizzas, ready meals, and packaged desserts. Action ideas: Make a grocery list before heading to the store and stick to foods on the perimeter (most ultra-processed foods are found in the centre aisles). Plan a day of the week to meal prep so you always have quick options on hand. Batch cook proteins, vegetables, and whole grains ahead of time to quickly throw together meals. Swap refined grains for whole grains: buy whole-grain bread over white and add items like quinoa and rolled-oats to your diet. Try a new vegetable each week: Find a recipe and try something new to add more variety to your meals. Once you find something you like, you can add it to your regular routine. 3. Reduce stress While setting a goal to “reduce stress” may seem vague, studies have shown that increased stress can impact the way we eat, setting us up for other metabolic and health-related issues. (10) Chronic stress also negatively impacts your well-being in other ways such as interfering with sleep, concentration, and mental health. (11-13) Finding small ways to reduce stress can have a big impact on your overall well-being and may even help keep your glucose steady, which can have a huge impact on things like energy, mood, and cravings. (8) While you can’t erase all stress from your life and there are some things beyond your control, taking some time to unwind and destress each day can lead to major improvements. (14) Action ideas: Set aside 10 minutes to meditate. Look for guided meditations online or with an app. If meditating isn’t for you, try breathing exercises. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing exercises specifically improve cortisol levels and people report less stress. (15) Spend 20-30 minutes outdoors. Research shows that spending 2 hours weekly in nature (city greenspaces count, too) can improve stress levels. (16) Whether you go for a walk, bike ride, or just sit in the sun (with SPF!), tune in to your environment and appreciate your surroundings. Try a yoga practice, whether a flow at home or a class in a studio. Cultivate gratitude. Each day, write down a few things that you are grateful for. Studies show that people who practice gratitude feel happier and have stronger relationships. (17) 4. Improve sleep quality Sleep is a crucial aspect to our health and well-being, yet it’s the one thing many people sacrifice if they are busy or overwhelmed. It has been shown that getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night is related to a wide range of health complications such diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression, and obesity. (18) Setting a goal to prioritise sleep can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health and has also been shown to be a major factor in glucose stability. (19) Although achieving quality sleep may be easier said than done, you can set yourself up for a restful night with these tips. Action Ideas: Set a reminder on your phone a couple hours before bedtime to start winding down: turn down lights, avoid screens, and take a bath or read a book to help prepare your body for sleep. Finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to give your food time to digest before you lay down. Limit alcohol before bed and swap for a calming beverage like herbal teas or golden milk. Set a bedtime to allow 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and crawl into bed earlier to fall asleep earlier. (20) Check out our guide to sleep better for more ideas. A final note from Lingo As we approach 2024, it’s a perfect time to reflect and set goals for the year to come. Envisioning your future self is a great way to identify the areas you want to focus on. While going into the new year with optimism is a great starting point, it is also important to identify the actions you will take to make that future self a reality. Even though you don’t have to announce your goals to the world, it’s important to have something to keep you personally accountable for what you set out to achieve. Tracking your progress can be a great way to do this, and Lingo’s biosensor can help you track your glucose patterns and encourage healthy choices towards improving your metabolic health and overall well-being.

 

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