Keep your body -- and mind -- fit through proper nutrition

  • Improve your mood by drinking water and eating a high-nutrition diet.

    Improve your mood by drinking water and eating a high-nutrition diet. Stock Photo

  • Greek yogurt with berries, granola or nuts is a well-balanced snack.

    Greek yogurt with berries, granola or nuts is a well-balanced snack. Stock photo

Posted1/19/2020 7:00 AM

Ever notice a change in your mood after eating certain foods or skipping meals altogether? Mood swings, irritability or anxiousness can be side effects of a poor diet.

Most people understand that a poor diet can lead to poor health, and they usually equate that to being overweight, out of shape, etc., but fail to correlate that same poor diet to diminished brain health and overall mood.


The following nutrition tips will help build the foundation for positive mental health.

Pay close attention to the size and timing of your meals. Eating every three hours helps support healthy blood sugar levels and the corresponding insulin response. Eating small to moderate meals that include all three macronutrients -- protein, fat and carbs -- will also support energy, focus and digestion.

Consume a healthy daily dose of vitamins and minerals daily. Most understand the importance of calories for fueling the body and maintaining a healthy weight. What many don't understand is that our bodies don't thrive solely on calories, but from nutrients that make up those calories. A sugary cup of coffee may give you a quick boost, but it's a false sense of energy with very little nutritional value. A well-balanced snack, such as a Greek yogurt with walnuts and blueberries, will give you healthy calories loaded with vitamins and minerals to properly fuel you at the cellular level. Eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables daily.

Ensure you're getting enough healthy fats in your diet. Good fats are essential for moderating proper brain function and allowing efficient communication between the brain and the body. Eat healthy fats found in fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut oil, while avoiding trans fats and saturated fats found in processed foods.

Minimize systemic inflammation by eliminating food allergens. Common food intolerances include gluten, dairy, eggs and soy. These foods could be causing unneeded stress on the body by causing your immune system to go on high alert every time they're consumed. Gut inflammation and brain health go hand in hand so calming your digestive system down can have mental benefits. If you think you may have a food intolerance, your doctor can suggest a specific test to verify.

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Increase your pure water intake. Water is essential for keeping cells healthy so they can perform day to day tasks. Many people fall into the habit of hydrating with artificially sweetened or sugary drinks, which typically don't hydrate as well as pure water and can sway blood sugar levels. If you're drinking caffeinated beverages, you'll need to consume even more water to offset the diuretic effect. Always keep a water bottle within reach and aim for at least 2 liters of pure water every day.

Improve your mood and improve your life.

For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit for links to our blog and social media resources.

• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact him at

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