You’re one of those people who would prioritize their mental health. You would schedule trips outside the country because you know this is a great avenue to relieve yourself from stress. You also make sure that you have a healthy work-life balance, so neither aspect of your life is compromised. And while everything that you’ve been doing is apt for your mental health, you should also consider your diet. The food you’re eating actually plays a role in how well your mental health is.
The Relationship Between Mental Health And Food
To answer the question of whether or not food and mental health are connected, the answer is simple – these two are connected; what you eat will affect how you think. To drive the point home, there are certain studies that prove that when you take probiotics or supplements that contain good bacteria, your anxiety levels and mental outlook will improve, compared to others who don’t take probiotics. Aside from that, studies also prove that people who are following “traditional diets” which include the traditional Japanese and Mediterranean diet have lesser risks of suffering from depression compared to those who are following “western” diets. Scientists account for this difference because traditional diets are mostly made of fruits, vegetables, seafood while “western” diets are made of sugars and refined foods.
These should be reasons enough for you to think about your diet. If you want to improve your mental health for the long-term, you should gradually stick to a diet that is not only healthy for your physique but your mind, as well.
How Can You Improve Your Mental Health With Food?
What you eat affects your mental health, and if you’re not cautious enough, your mental health will be adversely affected. To prevent this from happening, consider the following foods to improve your mental health:
- Fatty Fish: Since the human body can’t naturally produce enough fatty acid you need regularly, you need to rely on a diet that is rich in omega-3s. And you can do that by including cold-water fish in your diets such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. All of these have shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and attention deficiency. Additionally, omega-3s can also boost your learning and memory.
- Whole grains: For the brain to function well, it needs glucose which comes from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can improve your mood and can fuel the mind and body so you can continually function every day. If you want to feel full longer and fuel up your brain, make sure to include carbohydrates in your diets such as oats, wild rice, beans and other whole-wheat products. Just remember to consume all of these moderately as carbohydrates can also pose health risks when taken in large amounts.
- Yogurt with active cultures: Fermented foods like yogurt with active cultures contain good bacteria which can help in reducing anxiety and stress hormones. When you have a bad day at work, eating your favorite yogurt can be an excellent way to relax your mind. But keep in mind that eating too many processed foods at once can also disrupt the balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria in your body.
If you think you have issues with your mental health that diets can no longer solve, you should never think twice about seeking professional help as soon as possible. There are many organizations and psychologists like BetterHelp, for example, which can provide you counseling services to improve your mental health.
You might be used to eating certain foods every day but now you know that these can actually affect your mental health, it’s time to make changes. You can swap your favorite meals to a more natural dish to ensure that your mental health is taken care of. Yes, doing all of these might be tough at first, but if you’re doing everything for your mental health, everything will be worth it. Use the information from this article to determine what to prepare for your next meal and soon enough, your mental health will improve drastically.