Research indicates that exercise has many benefits to cognitive and physical function, but your food intake and nutrition also play a vital role in your health. What are you using to fill your body? Sugary sodas, processed snacks, and inflammatory foods? Or rather, are you FUELING with appropriate nutrient-dense foods?
Superfoods consist of lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, and fats which contain sufficient vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to improve overall health. Not only do these foods improve metabolism and furthermore your fat-burning ability, they also have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. A lot of food in the American diet promotes “excess inflammation” which in turn makes one more susceptible to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Inflammatory foods can alter the bacteria in your gut and furthermore impair your immune system. The inflammatory response typically causes weight gain, but it’s also associated with impaired cognitive function and mood.
Common inflammatory foods include:
Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta
Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
On the other end of the spectrum, there are particular food groups that help fight inflammation and consequently help reduce risk for chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables (especially leafy greens) contain antioxidants and polyphenols which help counter inflammation. Not only will you see changes in your physical health, but you may also see positive changes in your emotional and cognitive health as well!
Some foods that help fight inflammation:
While it may be difficult to make significant changes in your diet, you may decide to start small: cut one of your sodas out each day and replace it with a glass of water. Or rather than snacking on chips while at work, grab an apple instead. Be kind to your body. Remember, it needs to be properly FUELED in order to function well, not filled with sugary, processed foods.