Balanced Diet: Balanced Mind

Balanced Diet: Balanced Mind

Balanced Diet: Balanced Mind

Balanced Diet: Balanced Mind

Balanced Diet: Balanced Mind

Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is the key factor in our decision-making capacity. During the CBSE Board Examination, it is a must that our students’ mental health is in a good state so that no untoward incidents happen. Generally, students get extremely worked up and anxiety takes a toll on their overall health.   The Manav Rachna International School’s mentors help the students with the way they think, feel, and act, determining how they handle stress, their downfalls, relationships, examinations and make healthy choices. If their mental health is good, they make the right decisions and appear in their exams stress free. For students, mental health is extremely important at every stage of their lives. What can enhance the mental health of a student? Many aspects can help in improvising, but the most important is a nutritious food. Through this blog post by Ms. Seema Chopra, PGT Home Science, MRIS Charmwood, the students and their parents will be enlightened about the importance of a nutritious, healthy, and balanced diet and its effect on the mental health of our students.~ Editor.

Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.” – Auguste Escoffier

 “Laughter is the brightest when food is the best.”

The quotes above indicate the relationship between food and our mental state. We always try to make the students of Manav Rachna International School realize that all our emotions are associated with food. When we are happy, we celebrate over food. Achievements are celebrated with sweets. Our special days and festivals are marked by special foods; a mother shows her love by feeding her children their favourite dishes, and so on. Likewise, if we are stressed and upset over something we stop eating. We are aware that feeding kids the right nutrients support in their growth and progression. However, a growing body is  evidence and indicates that whatever our children consume can influence their learning, temperament, and personal health in addition to their overall fitness.

According to the studies, eating a balanced diet can promote cognitive capabilities like focus and memory as well as educational performance. So, very clearly food is an integral part of our life and has a great role to play in our well-being- both physical and mental.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), good health has various dimensions- physical, mental and social. All these years much has been talked about the physical dimension. But due to prevalent issues like anxiety and depression, the focus has shifted to mental health as well. We need to understand the role of food in promoting mental health. Food gives us happiness, especially if shared with friends and if it is a part of some celebration and fun. But in all these situations, one does not pay heed to the kind of food one indulges in. Most of the time it is a calorie-laden food, high in sugar and fat, which has its repercussions. Likewise, one tends to binge on chips and fries and soft drinks to enjoy a movie or a party. This kind of happiness is very short-lived. This does not promote health- neither mental nor physical, rather it deteriorates. For long-lasting and sustainable health, certain foods should become a part of dietary regime.

Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and nuts contain vitamins and minerals which are good for the brain and helps the body to stay fit. Vitamins like B6, B12 and D and minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc help to reduce anxiety. Proteins have amino acids that are used by the brain to regulate mood. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid is known to help the brain raise serotonin, the feel-good hormone, in the blood. Green leafy vegetables are rich in folate which counters depression and fatigue. Fish, walnuts and flax seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids which help in the production of neurotransmitters. Dark chocolate is known to have a soothing effect on mind. So, chocolate lovers should be the happiest people provided it’s not high in sugar. The more the percentage of cocoa the better the chocolate that helps in elevating mood.

Our students are from the best CBSE School of Faridabad and they should know in a nutshell, a healthy well-balanced diet promotes mental health as it helps in below mentioned activities.




  • Think clearly
  • Attain a good attention span
  • Quick decision making
  • Stay alert
  • Overcome anxiety and depression and stay calm
  • Sleep well

Several nutritionists including those of Manav Rachna International School, affiliated to CBSE, frequently tell clients to ‘eat the rainbow’ to help them remember to include more fruits and vegetables in their meals. The antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and other minerals found in naturally coloured foods like strawberries and red bell peppers promote good growth and assist prevent problems like overweight, tooth decay, an anemia, and bone loss.

 “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art” – Francois de la Rochefoucauld

You don’t have to eat less; you just have to eat in right portions. A balanced diet is the right diet.

A balanced diet is a diet that contains all the nutrients required by the body, but the most important fact is the quantity in which they are to be taken. ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has specified the quantity of all the nutrients and micro-nutrients that a body requires as per age, gender, activity level, etc. Because of misinformation, sometimes we tend to overdo the effort to feed ourselves with good foods. Whatever may be the health benefits of a particular food, we have to limit its intake otherwise the effects may reverse. In this context, I would like to quote an example of my uncle who died of a heart attack. He was a teetotaler, non-smoker, vegetarian and had an ideal body weight. The cause for the heart attack was diagnosed to be 400ml of full cream milk he used to have every day before sleeping, because it is believed that hot milk at bed time induces sleep. This clearly shows the importance of the right quantities and proportions. Excess of even vitamins and minerals, which are known to be protective nutrients, can lead to toxicity. Optimum nutrition is important for keeping us healthy as it provides immunity and protection from infections and helps in quick recovery from diseases. It promotes physical growth and keeps us energized for daily activities.

Today the chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. also known as lifestyle diseases, are caused by wrong food choices, toxic food ingredients, intake of highly processed and lack of physical exercise

Processed foods have taken the world by storm. In today’s busy lifestyle we look for convenience foods, ready-to-eat and packaged foods, most of which are processed to some or great extent. Food processing means changing the food from its raw native form to a semi-finished or finished form. To enhance the taste, texture and shelf life, salt, sugar, fat, preservatives, colours etc. are added that affect our health adversely.

Not all processed foods are bad for health, it is the degree of processing that determines whether they are fit for consumption or not. So, we need to check the labels of these foods for fat, saturated fat, salt, and sugar content.

  • Healthy Processed Foods

Minimally processed foods like dairy and soya milk, Greek yogurt, frozen /canned fish, tofu, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and breakfast cereals like oats, cornflakes, wheat flakes etc. are healthy and safe to eat. Most of them are fortified with essential nutrients.

  • Unhealthy Processed Foods

The highly processed foods like cheese, cakes, biscuits, meat products like salami, ham, and savory snacks like chips, pies, rolls, ice creams, and frozen desserts have additional salt, sugar, fats, and other additives which take a toll on our health. Moreover, they lack essential vitamins and minerals and roughage.

  • Refined Foods

To improve the appearance and increase consumer acceptance, many foods like flour, sugar, and rice are refined and polished. In this process, some of the essential nutrients and fiber get removed, thus, reducing their nutritive value. A very common example is Maida, which is a highly refined form of wheat flour and most of the products we love to eat have Maida as their base ingredient. That is why these foods have been labeled as junk food, besides the fact that they are high in fat, salt and sugar. Such foods are responsible for the rise in diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, cancer of colon etc.

         Here are a few tips for good nutrition

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in both raw and cooked form.
  • Prefer whole-grain cereals to processed ones, though the latter may look more attractive.
  • Do not skip breakfast because a healthy breakfast kick-starts your metabolism.
  • Switch over to healthy snacking for those odd hours of hunger. Prefer fresh fruits and nuts to chips and burgers.
  • Drink plenty of water. Replace your sugary and aerated drinks with fresh fruit juice, lassi, lemonade etc.
  • Be cautious while consuming the “so-called” diet goods which claim to be baked rather than fried.
  • Please be aware of the lavish drizzle of oil over these snacks before putting them in the oven for baking to give a nice crisp texture.
  • Eat from a smaller plate- that makes your portion size look big and you feel satiated after eating…. just a small trick to cheat the brain.
  • Change your cooking methods. Baking, steaming, air frying are healthier options than deep or even shallow frying.
  • Fix your meal timings as per your preferences. In my opinion, it helps in digestion easily, when our body is conditioned to eat at a fixed time, the digestive juices start secreting at that time and whatever we eat gets digested and utilized more efficiently.
  • Avoid skipping meals or going too long without eating, as in such cases when the hunger pangs strike us, we tend to eat the wrong things and even eat in excess.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Get enough sleep. Our body needs a minimum of 6-7 hours of sleep for its repair and maintenance. Adequate sleep is also recommended for optimal brain function and mental health.
  • Stay physically active. It’s a simple math equation to be followed…. Energy intake= Energy output……so it’s your choice –either eat more and stay active or if you are a couch potato, you will have to cut down your intake.

Being the faculty of the best CBSE School in Faridabad, I believe, MODERATION is the key. Therefore, a balanced diet is the most precious element for a healthier lifestyle. Children who eat a well-balanced diet that includes a vast variety of fruits and vegetables ultimately do better academically. ​

They’re likely to be more tenacious in their efforts, which will eventually lead to higher learning outcomes that will affect students in the long run.

Author: Ms. Seema Chopra, PGT Home Science, MRIS, Charmwood, Faridabad.