Many of us appreciate the personal touch of a homecooked meal. There’s something inherently more pleasant about knowing a meal has been made with love rather than microwaved in plastic packaging. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that cooking can improve your state of mind. In this article, we look at why cooking helps your mental health.
The Importance of Home Cooking
Cooking and baking at home can provide a range of benefits, and not just for your mental health. It’s also good for your body and your bank account.
Preparing a homecooked meal gives you additional control over the ingredients and portion sizes. This mean you can make sure you are getting what you need in your diet, as well as avoiding any allergies. Ready meals and takeaways, however, are often high in processed ingredients and salt, which can negatively affect your overall health. These could also be particularly risky if you are living with a heart condition or high blood pressure.
Moreover, meals out, takeaways, and ready meals are more expensive, overall, than cooking for yourself at home. Plus, as your purchase more ingredients, you will build a stockpile for future recipes instead of buying things fresh every time. You could even try batch cooking.
This makes a homecooked meal far more rewarding than you may have thought. But there are also other benefits. Here’s how cooking helps your mental health.
Mental Health Benefits of Cooking
It’s important to take care of your mental health, regardless of age. Your mental health can affect your physical health, too. In fact, feeling positive can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Fortunately, cooking can boost mental health.
Creativity is one of the best parts of being human. Moreover, studies have linked creative pursuits to improved mental health. Whilst you might not think of cooking as a creative activity, it is. Even if you are following a recipe, you are getting involved with the process of creating something. What’s more, as you get better at making a recipe, you will see an improvement in the final outcome. As you continue to cook at home, you may find yourself putting a fresh twist on old favourites. Experimenting and discovering different outcomes is sure to give your mood a boost.
Getting into the habit of cooking regularly can help to support a healthy routine, which can improve your wellbeing. A lack of structure in life can leave you stressed out as you struggle to decide what to do. However, by creating more routine, you know what to expect and when. By cooking at home, you will develop a routine of preparing your ingredients and knowing how long it will take until your meal is ready. It is also something that will keep you busy, so you don’t have a gap in your day where you don’t know what to do.
A Pleasant Distraction
Sometimes, the best solution to mental health struggles is to take our mind off the things that are troubling us. Cooking helps mental health by giving you something else to focus on, whether that be preparing the food or eating it. Waiting for a microwave to finish turning gives your troubles time to affect your mood. Slicing vegetables, stirring a sauce, or making sure you don’t burn your ingredients keeps you focused on something else, preventing your mind from wandering in unpleasant directions.
Did you know that your diet can also affect your mental health? Certain foods can help to boost your body’s production of hormones that stabilise your mood. For example, salmon, eggs, and pineapple are all foods that boost serotonin. This is one of the body’s feel-good chemicals, which contribute to better sleep and a more positive mindset. Moreover, when our bodies feel healthier, the mind will often follow.
Knowing you have prepared a meal from scratch is a great way for cooking to boost mental health. You can look at the food you have cooked and be proud of what you produced. By setting yourself achievable goals, you can further support your mental health. For example, why not aim to prepare two meals from scratch every week? Not only will you feel good on the days you do accomplish this, but you will also be able to look back on your week with pride. If you exceed your goal, you’re sure to feel even better.
A Social Activity
Cooking can also be an effective way to engage with people. One of the leading mental health problems amongst over-60s is loneliness, but a good meal can bring people together. Alternatively, you can cook with others. Whether you join a cooking class or invite your loved ones over to prepare a feast, it’s a great way to learn and improve your mental health. Plus, when you eat together, you get to watch the people you love enjoy what you have made, which is a great boost to your self-esteem.
Peace of Mind from Carelink24
Another way to boost your wellbeing at home is to invest in a personal alarm from Carelink24. With a personal alarm, if you experience a fall or medical emergency at home, you simply press the button on your alarm pendant and an alert is sent to our 24/7 Care Team. If you choose our fall detection plan, you can also benefit from automatic fall alerts.
When we receive your alert, we arrange help on your behalf by calling your emergency contacts. If necessary, we will also alert the emergency services.
To find out more, or to order your personal alarm today, call our friendly team on 0800 0076 247.