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Diet and Its Impact on Mindset Pt. 2

“You are what you eat” might be a popular phrase, but not many people realize just how far

this concept extends. Sure, you might not turn into a tomato by eating lots of tomatoes

(despite what your grandfather might have told you when you were a child), but the type of

food you opt for changes your physical and mental health. Don’t underestimate diet and its

impact on mindset.

It follows that nutrition can play a crucial role in athlete motivation and help you maintain

a positive outlook while training. Here’s why it’s so important.

The role of the gut

What we eat changes our gut — and the gut in turn is responsible for producing

neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, widely known as the “feel-good”

chemicals. This whole process helps to keep us feeling positive and calm.

Some studies suggest that, if we eat the wrong food, it could lead to poor mental health —

or even psychiatric disorders like depression.

So, what foods should we be aiming for? It’s unlikely there’s one miracle diet that will

optimize everyone’s wellbeing, but you can’t go wrong with whole foods boasting high

nutritional value — think vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

Oxidative stress

You might have heard of free radicals — they play a natural role in our body, but if there

aren’t enough antioxidants to balance them out, they can damage our cells. This is known

as oxidative stress, and it can stop our brain from functioning correctly. Guess how we can

ensure we have the right levels of antioxidants? By eating the right food.

When we eat foods high in vitamins and minerals, they help to fuel the brain properly. But

if we eat too many processed foods, especially those high in refined sugars, it can impair

brain functioning and worsen our mood.

Why this matters for athletes

You probably don’t need us to tell you that it’s not easy to maintain the discipline and

motivation necessary to stick to a grueling training regimen and continually improve your

athletic performance. Even in the best of times, it’s hard to wake up early on a cold, rainy

day and head to your training — but if you’re constantly battling negative feelings and your

the brain is screaming at you to stay in bed instead, it becomes almost impossible.

None of this means that you should never eat another chocolate bar or burger. But if you

really want to optimize your performance and remain in a positive mood, making sure that

most of what you eat is nutritional should swing the pendulum in your favor. Try to take

notice of how the food you eat makes you feel. You might have enjoyed your fast food binge

at the moment, but were you so happy a few hours later, or the next day?

Mind over matter

The brain is a mysterious beast, and there’s plenty we’ve still got to learn about it. But one

the thing almost everyone agrees on is that whole foods are a better choice for our minds than

their processed counterparts.

If you’ve found yourself nodding along but you’re not sure how to take action, you’re in the

right place. The rest of our content focuses on the link between athletic performance and

mindset, so why not check it out?

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