Food For Thought: How Your Eating Habits Could Affect Your Mental Health
It’s not news to anyone that what you eat can affect you physically. A steady diet of Hostess Cupcakes and Mountain Dew is a recipe for lethargy and weight gain (not to mention diabetes and a heart attack) while lean proteins, green vegetables, and whole grains will give you a ton of energy and keep your metabolism working like it should. What you may not know is that what you eat can have a drastic affect on your mental health, and the foods you choose to ingest have been proven to change your attitude, boost your brain power, and even stave off degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
So what foods should you eat to improve your mental health?
1. To Handle Your Mood:
To change your mood (if you find that you’re irritable, unfocused, or just plain grouchy), try cutting out foods that are high in fat, salt, sugar, additives, and caffeine (avoid processed foods like the plague). These stressors can give you a short boost and then leave you feeling like you haven’t slept in days. Instead, try hydrating with lots of water and replace your vending-machine snacks with fresh fruits and veggies for a natural high that will curb your hunger and make you feel alert throughout the day.
2. To Handle Depression:
If you find that mild depression is putting the kibosh on your social life, there are certain foods that have been shown to help, mainly those that contain complex carbohydrates (whole wheat, spinach, soybeans, etc.), which give you sustained energy, and omega-3 fatty acids (found mainly in fish like salmon and mackerel, but also in flax seed).
3. To Handle Drowsiness:
If you find that you are often drowsy, or even fatigued, the problem may be a lack of iron (especially in females). This could be causing you to suffer from anemia, or a shortage of red blood cells (iron helps your body produce hemoglobin, which in turn allows red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body). Foods that will boost your iron intake significantly include seafood like oysters, muscles, and shrimp, meats like beef and turkey, and to a lesser extent, beans, lentils, and even potatoes (with skin). Just be sure you’re getting enough vitamin C, which aids in the absorption of iron.
4. To Reverse Mental Aging And Boost Memory:
Foods that are high in antioxidants, such as blueberries and green tea, have been shown to reverse the signs of mental aging and boost memory in some studies. And they look fairly promising as a possible detriment to the onset and progression of Alzheimer ’s disease (although long-term studies are required to fully assess their possible benefits).
5. For Normal Physical Growth:
Folic acid is essential for normal physical growth, but it is also known to affect cognitive functions (such as perception, thinking, reasoning, and memory). It can be found in green vegetables like spinach and broccoli, fruits like oranges and peaches, as well as in whole grains and legumes.
The main thing you want to remember when choosing a diet not only for your physical health, but also for your mental well-being, is to do your research. If you are suffering from (or at risk for) serious issues like severe depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, or even autism, there are certainly studies to show that your diet can help you, but you really should consult a physician before assuming that you can handle it on your own. Plus, we are all created differently. What works for one may not work for another. So take your condition seriously and explore all possible avenues of treatment.
We have mentioned some very useful facts about how food affects our mental health and have laid some points to handle different conditions of mental health. We hope that that these would definitely prove to be helpful to handle such mental conditions.
If you have more to add to the topic above or want to suggest anything else, we would be happy to have your comments on the subject.
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