Teens who eat too much of a non-nutritionally balanced diet and exercise too little are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression compared to their peers. Teens who have a balanced diet that includes highly nutritional foods and regularly exercise or participate in some form of physical activity have a lower likelihood of developing mood disorders. Food is, in many ways, medicine. Too often we think that the food we eat is separate from the body we put it into. We wouldn’t water our plants with high sugar sodas or create their soil with crushed up pieces of candy, then keep it out of the sunshine and never give it water. Yet, we treat our bodies this way and, in so doing, we set the example for our teens to treat their bodies that way as well. The food we eat becomes the energy we use in our minds and our bodies. Our minds need specific nutrients from food in order to function at its fullest capacity for health. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are essential to positive growth in the brain and healthy function. Sugar-based diets aren’t always inclusive of candy and sweets. Today’s modern diet includes many processed, packaged foods, which include sugar or a high-glycemic index sugar derivative/replacement hidden within the least obvious of places like soup broths and oven fries. Sugar spikes blood sugar, causing a hyperarousal state of anxiety, then sends blood sugar plummeting down, causing a depression and lull. These alternating states mimic the processes of addiction which are created in the brain. A substance creates a stimulation full of euphoric pleasure. Then, a substance takes that pleasure away. The brain creates cravings to get more of that better feeling from the substance, forgetting that the substance is what creates the bad feelings as well. Caught in this cycle is exercise. Too much energy, too little energy, and not enough healthy fuel for energy de-prioritizes exercise. Exercise is necessary for mental health, heart health, and physical health. Moving the body for at least twenty minutes a day has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as symptoms of cravings present in recovery from addiction.
The combination of a nutritious diet and regular exercise are essential for a comprehensive recovery lifestyle which builds a strong foundation for teens to thrive on. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center emphasizes physical activity through regular workouts and outdoor exercise, taking advantage of our sprawling countryside estate. Private chefs, behavioral health nutritionists, and regular evaluations with a physician help keep each client on track with their dietary health as they continue to recover. For information on our unique residential programs for adolescent males, call us today: 662-598-4214.