Now Open! Pathways to Joy Online Program with Dr. Henry Emmons: Balance Mood and Build Resilience >>>

Eat Mindfully to Improve Digestive Health

digest Jul 23, 2020

 

Mindfulness Can Improve Digestive Health

The practice of mindfulness means being aware of what is happening within and around you in the present moment. This practice can be done while eating to enhance enjoyment and support digestive health.

When you practice mindful eating, you avoid distractions (like your phone) so you can fully notice and appreciate the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food. You'll chew more slowly with this practice, which benefits your digestion and satisfaction while eating. Mindful eating may also help you:

  • Reduce overeating and binge eating.
  • Lose weight.
  • Cope with chronic eating problems such as anorexia and bulimia.
  • Reduce anxious thoughts about food and body.
  • Improve symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.

Read more about the practice to learn how it can impact your digestion, which can, in turn, contribute to positive mental health outcomes.

Mindful eating is a simple practice that you can do anytime, anywhere.

Mindful Eating...

Continue Reading...

Exercise to Keep Your Digestive Tract Healthy

digest Jul 16, 2020

Move to Keep Your GI Tract Healthy

Exercise can help support digestive health and function in many ways:

  • Exercise improves blood flow throughout your digestive system and the rest of your body.
  • Aerobic exercise like walking, running, and cycling can help to strengthen abdominal muscles. Strong abdominal muscles assist digestion.
  • Regular aerobic activity can also activate your digestive tract and stimulate muscles that propel digestive waste through your intestines.

The good news is that almost any exercise you enjoy can help your digestion. The Resilient Movement Plans  are great a place to start if you don't have an exercise routine. There are also more targeted activities designed specifically to help your gut, wind relieving pose and abdominal self massage.

Two Movement Practices for Better Digestion

1. Wind Relieving Pose: This yoga posture can increase blood flow to the digestive system and facilitate colonic activity. Here's how to do it:

    ...
Continue Reading...

The Gut-Brain Connection

digest Jul 09, 2020
 

The brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are intimately connected and communicate constantly. Imbalances that have their origins in the GI tract can dramatically affect brain function and can cause or contribute to depression, anxiety, and inattention.

Studies over the past decade have established that, aside from the brain, the GI tract has more nerve cells than any other organ or system in the body. For this reason, the GI tract is sometimes called the “second brain.” Almost all of the neurotransmitters that are made in the brain are also manufactured in the GI tract, including 90% of the body's serotonin and 50% of its dopamine! The GI tract also houses approximately 70% of the immune system cells in the body. Additionally, our gut is home to billions of bacteria (and other organisms) that are designed to live in harmony with us. This internal world of organisms is called the "microbiome." Our gut bacteria help us make vitamins,...

Continue Reading...

Enhance Your Resilient Diet

digest foundations nourish Jan 09, 2020

Enhance Your Mind-Body Health Through Nutrition

Once you've incorporated the six principles of the Resilient Diet into your daily habits, you may be ready for these more in-depth practices to further enhance your mind-body health through nutrition. There's no need to adopt these suggestions all at once--you can pick and choose the ones that work for you.

Practice 1: Eat more frequent meals and keep portions small.

  • Always eat breakfast—after fasting overnight, your brain needs fresh fuel.
  • Eat every 4-5 hours throughout the day to keep blood sugar steady.
  • Ideal: Eat three meals of 400-600 calories each, along with 2-3 snacks of 100-200 calories each.  Have a snack in the late morning and mid-afternoon.  You may also want to add a small snack just before bedtime if you eat dinner early or wake at night feeling hungry. 

Practice 2: Have a modest amount of protein with each meal and snack. 

  • Note that some folks may want to avoid protein at...
Continue Reading...

The Resilient Diet

digest foundations nourish Dec 30, 2019

 

Adjusting your eating habits is one of the simplest ways to naturally improve your mental health. Because you are already eating and drinking things every day to fuel your body and mind, you don't need to add anything new to your routine. Instead, focus on making changes and adjustments to your diet to ensure you are nourishing your system with foods that promote mental health.

We have created the Resilient Diet to integrate seamlessly into your daily life. It is not a set of restrictive rules or detailed recipes. Instead, the Resilient Diet is made up of six broad guidelines or principles. These principles can guide your nutrition whether you cook for yourself, cook for a family, or don't cook much at all.

The Resilient Diet

PRINCIPLE 1 | Eat whole, natural foods.

Buy unprocessed organic food as much as possible.

PRINCIPLE 2 | Eat a wider variety of foods.

Eat more seasonal and local foods. Discover new kinds of vegetables, grains, meats, nuts, and...

Continue Reading...

Nourish Your Brain for Better Mental Health

digest nourish Oct 17, 2019

Nourish Your Brain for Better Mental Health: Risk Factors for Nutrient Depletion

Did you know that specific nutritional deficiency may actually cause mental illness or exacerbate existing symptoms? This is because humans require a variety and certain level of basic vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and amino acids for proper brain function and to manufacture the necessary neurotransmitter levels (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine) to maintain mental health.1,2  Without certain nutrients, it can literally be impossible for us to feel good--both mentally and physically.

You May Be Missing Key Nutrients

Even if you eat a healthy diet, your body may still be missing certain key nutrients. A lot of fruits and vegetables have less nutrition in them today compared to their counterparts grown decades ago. This is mainly due to soil depletion as modern agricultural methods continue to strip nutrients from the soil.3 Prescription medications such as antacids, antibiotics,...

Continue Reading...

Restorative Yoga Poses to Support Calm, Focus, and Sleep


By, Elly Hollenhorst

200-Hour Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher

Practice this 5-pose restorative yoga sequence to find calm, connect inwards, and refocus. This sequence can be practiced anytime; upon waking, during your lunch break, or before bed.

Props

  • A yoga mat or other comfortable surface.
  • Pillow or blanket(s).

Instructions

  1. Once you are comfortable in each posture, close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  2. Remain as still and unmoving as possible.
  3. Let gravity do the work. Do not pull your body into the positions.*
  4. Rest in each pose for 1-5 minutes resulting in a 5-25 minute practice, depending on how much time you have available. It is helpful to use a timer.

*If a posture feels painful, find another position to better suit your body's needs.

Child's Pose

Spread your knees as wide as the mat, bring your big toes to touch. Reach your arms out far in front of you. Rest your forehead on the mat. Let gravity guide your hips towards your heals.

Optional: You can bring a...

Continue Reading...

Naturally Boost Your Mood and Energy with Food

digest nourish Jan 08, 2019

By Carolyn Denton, MA, LN

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.”

-Anthelme Brillat Savarin, 1826

 

As far back as 1826, Savarin knew “we are what we eat,” and– more specifically– who we become. Functionally speaking, “food is information.”

Foods contain nutrients which provide directions to the systems of the body about how they will function, creating either positive or negative consequences. The nutrients we consume send messages to the brain and body about how it is going to behave. When we think of “food as information,” the focus becomes foods to include rather than foods to exclude.

The body and the mind are a connected, collaborative, community of interdependent systems. For example:

  • The nervous system is the place where neurotransmission occurs.
  • The digestive system is a community of beneficial bacteria.
  • The endocrine system includes all the glands and all the hormones…adaptive and...
Continue Reading...

Plant-Based Diet for Beginners: Six Easy Tips to Start a More Plant-Based Diet

digest foundations nourish Nov 27, 2018

By Elly Hollenhorst

The following tips on how to eat more plant-based will not only satisfy your comfort food cravings in the cold fall and winter months, but nourish your body by helping you succeed in eating more whole foods.

What Is a “Plant-Based” Diet?

The term plant-based has been buzzing around the internet of late and hopefully, we will continue hearing more about it as time passes. A whole food plant-based diet means that the food you consume is centered around an abundant variety of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, beans, fruit, nuts, and seeds while aiming to eat food as close to its whole form as possible (e.g. brown rice vs. white rice), choose organic as much as you can, and avoid processed food.

Whole food plant-based diets have been studied and appear to be among the healthiest ways of eating. Let me put it this way, very few people argue against adding more vegetables and fruit to your diet to make you healthier. But wait, a whole food...

Continue Reading...

Foods that Help You Focus

digest focus Nov 14, 2018

Food has an amazing ability to affect your mental clarity, mood, memory, and your ability to focus and to feel calm. If you’re looking to boost your focus, one of the places you should start with is what you’re eating. Below are some general suggestions and specific foods that may help you improve your focus.

General Suggestions: 

Eat Breakfast. Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Foods at the top of researchers' brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, protein, dairy, and fruits. Just don't overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.

Keep Regular Mealtimes. Your mid-day meal should be the largest if possible with a light meal at supper. Eat moderately, neither fasting nor indulging in large meals.

Relax. Take time to relax after eating. You'll digest better and feel more calm, satisfied, and ready to focus on your next task. 

Eat...

Continue Reading...
1 2
Close

50% Complete

Boost Joy, Calm, & Focus

The NMH newsletter goes out twice monthly. You'll receive helpful tips, resources, and special offers to optimize your mental health and create more joy, calm, and focus in your life.