Eating well not only helps you feel good and look good, but it also boosts your mental health.
A healthy diet enables you to think more clearly, strengthen your focus, and improve your attention span.
On the other hand, an inadequate diet causes fatigue, delayed reaction, and unsound decision making. In some cases, if this pattern of eating continues, this may cause stress and depression.
If you want to live a happy and healthy life, it takes more than keeping yourself physically healthy. You also need to maintain your mental health as it affects how you feel, behave, and think every single day. It also determines how you cope with stress, make decisions, and handle your relationships. By being mentally healthy, you will also enjoy other benefits, such as reduced anxiety, a clearer mind, better moods, stronger self-esteem, inner peace, and a lower risk of depression.
One way to promote mental health is to be watchful of your diet. These are seven of the best foods that you should incorporate to your diet if you want to be healthy mentally and emotionally:
Replace your usual junk food for break times with walnuts. They are rich in antioxidants, increasing your body and brain’s oxidation. What is even better is that walnuts help the body develop new neurons, which eventually let you grow new brain cells.
If you eat walnuts in moderation, you will nourish your mind and body with a healthy source of monounsaturated fats and protein. They alleviate the symptoms of depression, thanks to their rich omega-3 fatty acid content that promotes brain health. They can also help to lose weight.
Yogurt, like other low-fat dairy products, has high levels of vitamin D, calcium, and protein. These help your body fight depression, among many other reasons. This dairy also contains peptides that make it easier for you to relax and feel a sense of well-being.
According to a research published on Scientific Reports, gut health is directly related to one’s mental health. The mice subjects in the experiments showed how the good bacteria in yogurt helped ease stress, blood pressure, and the signs of depression. The researchers found that the level of Lactobacillus in the mice’s gut has an impact on the kynurenine, or the blood’s metabolite, which makes depression worse. As the amount of Lactobacillus reduces, kynurenine goes up, causing the symptoms of depression to worsen.
Oily fish has many benefits, it’s good for the brain and it is all because of the omega-3s. These fatty acids boost your memory, supporting brain health. You can get these from fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna, bluefish, trout, and salmon. The omega-3s found in these fish also lessen inflammation, promote better circulation, and reduce the risk of a heart problem.
Caffeine binds itself to your brain’s adenosine receptors, blocking them in the process while allowing some dopamine to circulate better. This often leads to the coffee drinker feeling energetic, alert, and well. Considering the current coffee consumption statistics, millions of people around the world are feeling the same way, too.
Some studies also suggest that drinking coffee can lower the risk of depression and suicide. This is based on analyzing existing observational studies on depression and caffeine. According to Japanese research in 2014, coffee lessens the inflammation of the brain’s nerve cells that happen during depression. This is because of its ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid.
And for reasons that probably go beyond improving one’s mental health, the coffee consumption statistics showed that 166.06 million bags were consumed from 2019 to 2020. This is higher than the 165.27 million coffee bags consumed in 2018 to 2019.
Brazil provides us with over one third of world’ coffee production. Top coffee-producing countries’ roles are also huge.
You can eat strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries and enjoy benefits, such as cell repair, filtering the effect of free radicals, and healing inflammation. As these natural antioxidants heal the damage left behind by free radicals, these fruits also reduce the symptoms linked to anxiety and depression. They also improve your concentration, memory, and attention span.
If you want better control over your mental health, load up on leafy greens. Research consisting of cognitive assessments on the subjects during a five-year period showed that those who regularly eat green, leafy vegetables show slower cognitive decline than those who avoid the healthy stuff. The researchers also found that leafy greens contain nutrients linked to cognitive health, including vitamin K, lutein, folate, beta-carotene, nitrate, kaempferol, and alpha-tocopherol.
After the body digests the food you eat, they become substances used to develop neurotransmitters and other important chemicals that enable the nervous system to function. Aside from carbohydrates, protein makes up a significant amount of the substances in the human body. It contains tryptophan, one of protein’s building blocks, that affect your mood because of the serotonin that it produces. If you regularly eat lean protein, you’re helping your body balance its serotonin levels, which helps reduce the signs of depression.
For better mental health, watch what you eat. Be more conscious of your daily diet. Make the necessary dietary changes to incorporate the food mentioned above. If you’ve noticed signs of a mental health disorder or want better control over your mood, talk to a doctor and improve your diet.