In our last blog we looked at how what we eat can really improve our energy levels. We’re sticking with the food theme but this time let’s talk about how nutrition affects our mental health & mood!
Recently, we have been witnessing a rise in exposure of mental ill-health, all around us. Never has it been more prevalent. Let’s look at the plethora of growing research, and help assess what can be done to improve our mental health through the food we eat!
Read on to find out more about the foods that research has indicated play a contributing role to our mental wellbeing!
Put simply … YES
“Increased evidence suggests that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat can affect the way we feel!”
If you are someone who has ever smoked, drunk alcohol, tea or coffee, or eaten chocolate, you will know only too well that they can alter the state of your mood. The effect, depending on the substance, is thankfully often temporary! Some foods can actually have a longer lasting influence on mood and wellbeing.
Download at our poster here or click on the image below for more ideas on foods to eat when you are stressed, you will find that these have a longer lasting positive influence on how you feel.
Further good news is that integrated mind-body approaches to support mental health are fast increasing. Departments like “nutritional psychiatry” are growing, with more and more studies supporting the links. Immunity and mental illness are intrinsically linked, and boosting immunity is directly linked to our eating habits too!
“There is a growing body of evidence indicating that nutrition may play an important role in the prevention, development, and management of diagnosed mental health problems including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and dementia”
There is a well-established link between diet and physical health, especially for diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, and some cancers. However, we desperately need to understand more about the contribution made by diet to our mental health; now more than ever. Becca says our physical and mental health are intrinsically linked.
Don’t just take our word for it. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that not only is home-prepared food usually healthier; it is also followed by “more intense, positive emotions and less worry than those consumed away from home”.
Top of the list is to decrease your consumption of sugar, and in particular fructose, grains, and processed foods. Processed foods are high in sugar and grains and they are also packed full of a variety of additives. These can affect your brain function and mental state, especially artificial sweeteners. A diet rich in processed foods is also linked to an increased risk of depression.
Several studies have indicated that low levels of fish consumption by country were linked to higher levels of depression among its citizens, and vice versa. Fish is rich in omega-3 fats, which are crucial for optimal brain function and mental health.
Low levels of the B vitamins including vitamin B1, B2, B12 and folate have been linked to an increased risk for depression. Ensure your diet is rich in seafood, beef, chicken, pork, milk and eggs to increase your daily intake.
The best way to up your vitamin D levels is through regular sun exposure. Vitamin D is essential for your mood. There’s a reason why people are happier when it’s sunny! When it comes to foods rich in vitamin D, opt for salmon, tuna, sole, fortified cereals, eggs, ricotta, milk, pork and mushrooms.
Remember, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that we know is related to sunshine deficiency, so it would make sense that the perfect way to optimize your vitamin D is through careful” sun exposure.
Lastly, the following table of essential vitamins and minerals and their health benefits, and where to find them, is very powerful and effective. Give it a go and let us know how you get on”!
In short we know that the food we eat can help us to achieve optimal health – we say we need to appreciate more that is both optimal physical and mental health! If you want to read more, CLICK BELOW:
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