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Nutrition can lead to more than a healthy physical body; it can affect the mind, too 

Food for the soul

Have you ever noticed that how you’re feeling has an effect on your attitude? If you’re not feeling your best you may not act your best. But when you’re feeling good, you smile more, are friendlier and express kindness to others.  

Good nutrition can affect your mood in a positive way. When you eat nutritious foods, your body is happy and in turn your mood can be lifted as well.

Here are some small changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to be a happier and kinder person:

Eat whole foods.

Eating foods that have minimal processing are easier to digest and have more nutrients retained in them. Reach for whole pieces of fruit or veggies with homemade yogurt dip for a healthy snack. 

Processed foods such as chips, snack cakes and fast food have lots of added sugar and sodium, which make you feel sluggish and heavy.

• Drink plenty  of water. 

Of course you know your body is made up of mostly water. When you drink water, your body functions as it should. Staying hydrated improves organ function, clarity of mind, and clears your skin. 

Tip: Sugar sweetened beverages such as soda and energy drinks can have the opposite effect on your body.

Get moving. 

Physical activity has been proven to improve your health and wellbeing as well as your mood. Often times it is suggested that if you are feeling stressed, angry or overwhelmed you could take a short walk to relax. 

Regular physical activity helps get your sleep pattern back on track as well.

• Get some sleep. 

Adequate sleep improves brain function and other organ system functions as well. Obviously, if taking a nap improves a child’s mood, it can have a similar effect on an adult. 

If you don’t have time to take a short nap during the day, make it a priority to get to bed early so you can get the hours you need.

Make it a goal to try and incorporate at least one of these practices in your daily routine. Change doesn’t happen all at once. Take baby steps and you’ll get the hang of a healthy lifestyle. 

Last but not least, remember that how you feel can affect your attitude in a positive or negative way — as well as others who you interact with — good and bad moods can “catch” and spread. The choice is yours. 

Last but not least, remember that how you feel can affect your attitude in a positive or negative way — as well as others who you interact with; good and bad moods can “catch and spread.” The choice is yours. Try starting your day with a healthy breakfast, glass of water and a big dose of gratitude for another day. You, and everyone around you, will be glad you did.

If you have questions or comments about the column, or if you’d like more information feel free to contact me by email at a.price@uky.edu.