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Eating for your Mental Health

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Eating for your Mental Health

At Farrell’s, we strive for a whole lifestyle approach-which includes proper nutrition, body movement, sleep, hydration, and of course, mental health. When you’re kickboxing and strength training 6 days per week, it can take a toll on not only your body, but your mind, if you are not taking care of it.

 

So let’s look at a few of the foundational pieces for eating to fuel your body for your mental health:


  1. Scheduled/Structured eating. Think of your body like a campfire. When you light a fire, can you leave it burning and expect it to continue to burn all day without tending to it? Absolutely not! Just like our bodies, you need to tend to that fire every few hours just to keep it burning. Aim to eat something nutrient dense every 3-5 hours to provide your body the consistent source of fuel that it craves to help keep your mood at an even keel throughout your day.

  2. Adequate healthy fat. Did you know that low-fat consumption is linked with increased levels of depression? Eating less than 45 grams of fat per day can impact your mental health. Fat is essential in maintaining the cell structure of the brain's communication network, and is considered essential for proper brain function. A moderate fat intake is considered to be roughly 45 grams of fat per day, which would mean having a source of added fat just twice per day and fat that is found naturally in foods like avocados, protein, nuts, and even dairy. Nutrient dense sources of added fat can be found in things like avocado oil, olive oil, butter, and nut butters. 

  3. Adequate Carbohydrates. Did you know that your brain cannot store glucose? If you do not get enough carbohydrates in your system, your body will break down the protein in your muscles, body tissues, and organs for energy.  Pretty crazy right? This means that your body and brain need a constant supply of glucose in order to function properly-and a great way to provide your body and brain with what it needs is to provide it with proper carbohydrates. Look for your source of carbohydrates to come from things like starchy vegetables, beans, fruits, nonfat greek yogurt, whole grains, oatmeal, etc. Low carbohydrate intake can cause depression, brain fog, fatigue, and sluggishness. 

  4. Adequate protein. We cannot stress this enough-make sure you are properly fueling your body with an adequate amount of protein. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your neurotransmitters (the way your cells communicate messages about sleep, appetite, and mood). You should aim for about 40% of your intake to be made up of lean sources of protein such as sustainably sourced grass fed meats and poultry, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, and plant based proteins.

     

     

Eating for your mental health is actually quite simple if you follow the above guidelines of fueling your body throughout the day every 3-5 hours with adequate protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. See you on the mats!


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