Fitness and nutrition for mental health

May 23, 2017
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May is National Mental Health Awareness month and it got me thinking about how important fitness is to maintaining mental well-being.  Getting outside in nature, moving to get your heart rate up, breathing deeply and letting go of the re-run ruminations in our heads can increase blood flow and energy levels, boosting feelings of wellness.

Of course, healthy nutrition plays a role, as well.  Proteins are made up of amino acids which can only be ingested–they are not naturally made by our bodies.  The amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine are the precursors for the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are involved in nervous system functions like mood, sleep, motivation and concentration, anxiety, immune function, and more.  Whey protein contains the amino acid building blocks needed for developing the neurotransmitters used by our brains, as well as for building muscles and maintaining healthy organs.  It also contains high levels of 9 essential amino acids our bodies use.  Our protein blend of whey isolate and concentrate make a powerful source of amino acids. Here is an interesting chart comparing protein sources:

Amino Acid Human Milk Cow Milk Egg Beef Soy Whey
Histidine 26 27 22 34 19 16
Isoleucine BCAA 46 47 54 48 49 54
Leucine BCAA 93 95 86 83 82 89
Valine BCAA 55 64 66 50 48 82
Lysine 66 78 70 89 64 88
Methionine 42 33 57 40 26 32
Tyrosine 72 102 93 80 92 65
Threonine 4 44 47 46 38 65
Tryptophan 17 14 17 12 14 22
TOTALS 421 504 512 482 432 513
Source:  Hammer Nutrition

Exercise and eating right become medicine when feeling anxious or depressed. Mental Health America has a nice list of tips for mental health to remind you of your center.  Of course, reaching out to your health care provider is always the right thing to do when you are feeling low for extended periods and none of these things help.  #builtonstrength



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