Fuel for Your Mind & Body
Dr. Yesha Gandhi, MD
Do you or someone you know struggle with poor nutrition or body image? Good food allows your brain and body to perform at an optimal level. Your mindset and self-talk are other key factors that impact your overall health and how your body functions.
What’s Body Image?
Body image is how comfortable you feel in your body. Are you happy or disappointed with the way you look? Body image is important because how you feel and think about your appearance impacts your self-worth. A negative body image can often increase the risk of mental and behavioral health concerns like depression and eating disorders.
Improve Your Body Image
Positive thoughts about your body aren’t always automatic. To help change the way you feel about yourself and to improve your self-esteem, try to:
- Appreciate what your body is capable of
- Recognize that no one has a perfect body
- Reduce your stress
- Say positive affirmations to yourself, especially when you have negative thoughts
- See yourself beyond your physical features; celebrate your mind and talents
- Worry less about diet trends and more about eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
How to Be Healthy
Many factors contribute to your wellness, like your physical, emotional, social, and intellectual health. Nutrition plays a crucial role in your physical health, and body image can make a difference in your emotional and social health.
Why Nutrition Matters
Your body needs energy and nutrients from food to be healthy. Nutrients your body needs are carbohydrates, fats, minerals, proteins, vitamins, and water. When you eat healthy food, it helps:
- Boost your immune system
- Give you more energy
- Increase your lifespan by reducing stress on your body
- Lift your mood
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Reduce the risk of chronic disease
Best Foods for Your Brain & Body
Set your body up for success each day when you consume:
- Half your body weight in ounces of water
- Whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and non-processed grains
- Healthy fats from seeds, walnuts, tofu, and fish
- Lean protein from meats, fish, beans, and low-fat dairy products
- Carbohydrates from yogurt, brown rice, apples, oats, and popcorn
Natural herbs and spices are a fun way to change the flavor of your food and can help prevent illness.
Foods to Avoid
To feel your best, limit:
- Saturated fat like butter, bacon, sausage, and cheese
- Trans fat like fried foods, stick margarine, and frozen pizza
Improve Your Overall Health
Talk to your primary care provider about how to create a personalized plan that helps you build new habits to promote a positive body image and reach your nutrition goals.