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10 Ways To Improve Mental Health With Food

Now more than ever, we need to pay attention to our health. These hard times call for taking extra care of ourselves–both physically and mentally. There are many things that can help you do just that! Included is, of course, a good diet. Here are 10 ways to improve mental health with food:

Wholegrains

Oats, corn, brown rice, and quinoa are only a few examples. Whole Grains help boost your energy and mood. They contain an array of B vitamins, tryptophan (amino acid that helps produce feel-good hormone serotonin) and tyrosine (neurotransmitter with a similar function).

Nuts

Do you enjoy eating nuts? Well, great news! Nuts are good for your mind and body. They help with stress and help improve memory and mental health. Containing antioxidants, they help inhibit oxidation in the brain and body. Walnuts have plenty of oxidants which play a big role in growing new brain cells.

Eggs

Whether you like them sunny side up or over easy, eggs can improve your mental health. They contain choline, an important nutrient responsible for regulating mood and reducing stress. They also contain vitamin D which helps ease anxiety and depression.

Yogurt

Science tells us how directly linked our gut and mental health are. Researches have reversed depression symptoms in mice by feeding them Lactobacillus, a probiotic bacteria found in yogurt. Combined with exercise, yogurt can do a lot for your mental health.

Meat

Although meat can be bad for you-depending on your condition or how much you eat-it’s essential. Animal meat supports both physical and mental health. Dr. Edward Archer from the University of South Indiana says,”[Our research results don’t] support the idea that eliminating meat can improve mental health.”   

Fish

Oily seafood such as salmon, trout, and prawns are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fatty acids promote optimal brain health and help boost mental health. Meanwhile, tuna and sardines are rich sources of selenium–selenium deficiency has been linked to anxiety and depression.

Fruits

Don’t you just love fruits? They can be both healthy and delicious! Bananas are good for depression; avocados help with anxiety; grapes have therapeutic properties; berries improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.   

Leafy Greens

You’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of leafy greens. Yes, they are all true. What’s more, eating leafy greens can boost your memory and overall mental ability. Spinach, kale, and collard greens promote a slower rate of cognitive decline.  

Beans

If you want a healthy brain and a healthy heart, have yourself some beans! Beans contain protein, fiber, and antioxidants which keep your blood sugar stable while also improving your mental health. Go ahead and throw some chickpeas or kidney beans in your dish!

Dark Chocolate

Studies have proven how eating dark chocolate can help manage mood and stress. It’s suggested that flavonoids found in them improve blood flow and reduce neuroinflammation and cell death. Dark chocolate also has magnesium which may help reduce symptoms of depression.

Both your mental and physical health will benefit when you eat these kinds of food. Anything high in fat, sugar, and processed take the health and energy out of your body. You’re less likely to develop or worsen your symptoms if you do it with other important stuff you’ll find out later in this article.

Eating Well For Mental Health

Poor nutrition aggravates stress. Bad eating habits like having a diet high in calories, sugar, bad cholesterol, etc. They may be delicious, but unhealthy food is addictive. You want to eat them though they aren’t good for you. Healthy options like fruits and vegetables taste great too, but don’t affect you negatively. Eating such food in right amounts is necessary for good mental health.

What’s The Best Diet For Mental Health?

A healthy diet is not just about losing weight or having a healthy body. How you eat also affects your brain. A healthy diet is great for your overall health. Mediterranean diet is only one of many recommendations made by nutrition psychologists.  Ask your doctor or a professional to help you find the best diet for your health condition.

Mindful Eating

Being aware of what and how you eat does a lot for your mental health. For instance, you get to know if you’re overeating due to stress of depression. A lot of nutritionists recommend keeping a diary. Writing down the food you eat makes you more mindful of your diet. With the help of a therapist, you can watch over and manage your eating habits. There are many ways to keep a healthy diet. Try your best to practice both mindful and healthy eating. 

Sharing Meals With Other People

Have you ever noticed how slowly and less you eat when you’re with others? You’re busy talking and listening that your attention isn’t solely focused on your food. When you eat with others-colleagues for example-you’re less likely to indulge in a bad diet. You may be more conscious of how you eat, especially if you’re with health enthusiasts. You can even have them help you watch over your eating habits.

“The act of nutrition has been proven in research to have a direct correlation with the improvement of mental health,”

– Eva Selhub

You may not see or feel the benefits right away but trust me, it’s worth it! It’s proven anyway. Just keep eating well until you develop the habit. You can begin by adding some of these to your daily diet (e.g. a handful of nuts for a quick snack). Make sure that you consume the right amount. Lastly, don’t forget to consult your doctor. They know what’s best for you especially if you have an existing condition. On the whole, a healthy diet paired with a healthy lifestyle will never fail you. 

Can you relate? Share your thoughts below. We’d love to hear them!

What do you think?

Written by Hannah Grace

A B.S. Psychology graduate who fights both real and imaginary shadows every day with music and words.

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