We’re taught that eating well helps us look and feel our physical best from a young age. What we’re not usually informed about is that good nutrition significantly affects our mental health, too. A healthy diet can help you think clearer and feel more alert.
One of the most significant health impairments is how much society’s relies on processed foods. These foods are high in flour and sugar and train our brains to crave more of them rather than nutrient-rich foods.
Processed foods and sugars can lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, contributing to mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. When we’re feeling stressed, processed foods are what we search for as a quick pick-me-up. A cup of coffee stands in as complete breakfast during busy mornings, and healthy meals are replaced with high-fat, high-calorie fast food.
According to the American Dietetic Association, people either eat too much or too little when depressed or under stress. In either case, a poor diet during these periods only makes matters worse. To boost your mental health, by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables along with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes are also excellent brain foods.
A Healthy Gut
Researchers continue to prove the old saying that you are what you eat by exploring the strong connection between our intestines and the brain. Our guts and brain are linked through the vagus nerve. While the gut can influence emotional behavior in the brain, the brain can also alter the bacteria living in the gut. It’s believed 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, a mood stabilizer, is produced by gut bacteria. Stress is thought to suppress beneficial gut bacteria.
Pay close attention to how you feel when you eat and what you eat. This is one of the first steps in making sure you’re getting well-balanced meals and snacks. If you find it hard to control your eating habits, your health may be in jeopardy, whether you’re eating too much or too little. If this is the case, you should seek professional counseling.
Your body requires a variety of carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals to function. To get all the nutrients that improve mental functioning, nutritionists suggest eating meals and snacks that include a variety of foods like complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fatty acids.
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