Nutrition is defined as “the biochemical and physiological process by which an organism uses food to support its life.” It is a critical part of health and development. Nutrition comes from a variety of sources such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, lipids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and more. Nutrients are substances required by the body to perform its basic functions (e.g., provide energy, contribute to body structure, and/ or regulate chemical processes in the body). These are vital, basic functions that allow us to detect and respond to environmental surroundings, move, excrete wastes, breathe, grow, and reproduce. Essential nutrients are compounds that must be obtained from our diet because the human body cannot make them or cannot make them in sufficient quantity. Essential nutrients are divided into two categories: macronutrients (needed in large amounts for the body to function optimally, such as carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) and micronutrients (all the essential minerals and vitamins that are needed by the body in lesser amounts). Teens require extra nutrients to support hormonal changes, bone growth, as well as organ, tissue, and brain development. There is an undeniable link between nutrition and teenage mental health. The neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that are responsible for regulating behaviors) in one’s body are controlled by what a teen ingests. Hence, poor nutrition can lead to detrimental physiological outcomes, whereas proper nutrition can enrich an adolescent’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. Cultivating and adhering to a nutritious diet throughout one’s adolescence can be beneficial in a variety of ways. Certain foods, for example, can increase the production of dopamine and/ or norepinephrine that boost a teenager’s ability to think more clearly, remain more alert and gives them better focus. Including certain foods (e.g., those rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.) into one’s diet can provide a teen with the energy and strength required to be physically active. Eating nutritiously can help keep a teen’s complexion remain clearer and healthier. Proper nutrition can help to improve a teenager’s immune system and strengthen immunity. Eating a varied and nutritiously balanced diet can help a teen lay the foundation for continuing healthy nutrition well into adulthood, improving one’s quality of life.
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Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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