How to Eat for Excellent Mental Health
Your mental health is closely linked to the foods that you eat. Nourishing foods will fuel your body and help you to remain mentally sharp and quick. Lower-quality foods that are highly processed and those that are full of refined sugars will interfere with your mental clarity and lead to a decrease in your mood stability and mental health.
With such an easy solution available to improve how you feel, approach your diet with more thought and make choices that will leave you feeling uplifted and steady.
Foods to Support Mental Health
The best foods that you can eat to help your mental health are whole foods. A diet that relies heavily on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish is best. Other lean proteins are okay but should be consumed in moderation. Red meat especially should only be indulged in on occasion. Other healthy choices are good fats like those found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
These foods are easily broken down and processed by your digestive system so they can give you the energy and nutrients you need for a strong body and sharper mind.
In addition to healthy food choices, supplements can help you to get the nutrition you need for a healthy gut and digestion. Unify Health offers many options, along with a supportive community to help you reach your health goals.
Foods to Avoid
Unfortunately, most people don’t make the best selections for their diet. The Western diet especially is based upon processed food, carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and sugars.
These types of foods are hard to digest and can lead to a condition called leaky gut, where the lining of the digestive system is perforated to let food particles into the body. Your body doesn’t know how to handle these and sees them as invaders, so it then works to fight them. This causes inflammation throughout the body. High levels of sugars and carbohydrates can also lead to a brief surge in energy but then followed by a crash. The insulin imbalance is responsible for surges in blood sugar and mood swings.
Since these foods can pose such a health risk, they should be avoided or eaten only on occasion. If your diet has long been based on such foods, you may be experiencing both physical and mental symptoms. Dairy, grains, and eggs are often triggers for many people.
Fortunately, the effects can be reversed by changing your diet. Eliminate problem foods and stick to healthy, whole food options. Take stock of how your body feels after eating to help you to identify foods that you may be sensitive to. Once you heal yourself and begin to feel better, you can slowly start to introduce some foods back into your diet, but be careful not to overindulge.
The Reason Food Affects Mental Health
The reason some foods can affect your mood is that they upset the balance of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that are necessary to send signals to your brain.
Serotonin is mostly produced in your gut where your food is digested. When you eat the proper foods, they are easily digested and serotonin production goes on as normal allowing for a good connection between your brain and gut for messages to be delivered. Serotonin is important because it helps to regulate your appetite, your moods, and even your sleep patterns.
Serotonin, or the lack of it, is a big contributing factor to depression. Many anti-depressant medications are formulated to help increase serotonin production, so if you can get the benefit from just changing your diet then you may be able to rebalance your system without taking any medications.
When you eat foods that are hard to digest, the production of neurotransmitters drastically slows down and the signals from your gut to your brain are sluggish and often misread, leading to depression and other disorders.
It is very possible to make a huge difference in how you feel by watching your diet. Start by making a few smaller changes and work up to your goal. You will soon start to notice the effects of your healthier choices and how your mood grows more stable and optimistic by the day.