Mental Health and Diet
If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, your diet may be a big part of the problem. Diets high in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates can cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain.
Studies show that eating a diet rich in antioxidants and nutrient-dense foods can help prevent or reduce depression and other mental health conditions.
Eat the right balance of fats
Fats are important for your brain, muscles and other organs to function properly. But there is a difference between “good” and “bad” fats, which can have an impact on your mood and health.
A diet high in healthy fats can help you fight fatigue, improve your mental acuity and even trim your waistline. You’ll find them in things like olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts and seeds, milk, eggs and fish.
Ideally, you should consume unsaturated fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. They are known to reduce your risk of heart disease and other health issues, and have been shown to boost your mood.
Eat more whole grains
Eating more whole grains in a healthy diet can benefit both your mental health and physical health. They are rich in fiber, nutrients and antioxidants that can enhance digestive health, promote weight loss, protect against cancer, fight inflammation, improve heart health and support blood sugar control.
They are also full of serotonin and melatonin, two neurotransmitters that help calm the mind and body. These hormones are needed to produce healthy sleep patterns and regulate moods and behavior.
The key to eating more whole grains is to make sure you are eating all three parts of the grain kernel – the bran, endosperm and germ. Refined grains, on the other hand, only contain the endosperm, which is high in carbs and low in nutrition.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming at least three servings of whole grains each day. This will maximize your health benefits by maximizing fiber, vitamins, minerals and other bioactive compounds found in the intact whole grains kernels.
Eat more protein
Protein is a crucial part of your healthy diet. It builds and repairs your body, helps maintain your blood sugar levels and can regulate hormones.
It also aids in weight loss and muscle gain. In addition, it can help improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
Generally, you should get 10-35% of your calories from protein. It should come from a variety of sources such as lean meat, low-fat dairy and beans.
For the best results, aim to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day. Try consuming about 30 grams of protein at each meal and snack.
Getting enough protein will also help boost brain function and reduce the risk of depression. Two amino acids, tyrosine and tryptophan, play an important role in the production of dopamine and serotonin – the body’s happy hormones.
Eat less caffeine
Many people rely on caffeine to get them going in the morning or to improve concentration. It’s found naturally in plants and added to a variety of foods and beverages, including coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate.
It’s important to note that caffeine affects everyone differently. That’s because some people metabolize it quickly, while others are more sensitive.
Caffeine also affects the way your brain works, so it’s a good idea to avoid excessive consumption of this substance.
The best thing you can do is reduce your intake of caffeine gradually, so that you don’t experience withdrawal symptoms. For some, this may take time, but it could be worth the effort to make a healthier choice in the long run.