Best Foods for Your Mental Health

Eating healthy is not only good for your physical health but also affects your mental health. Taking care of your diet and mindful eating is essential for good mental health and preventing mental issues like stress and depression.

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How Food is Connected with Mental Health?

There is a direct relationship between your food and your mental health. To understand this relation, first, you should know about neurons. Neurons play a vital role in sending messages between your brain and nervous system and within different parts of the brain.

A healthy diet has the power to produce new neurons. It also augments the connections sustaining between the neurons. When neurons have healthier connections, brain messages are delivered more effectively and quickly. Thus, you are better able to think, learn, adapt, memorize, respond and communicate. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals found in different foods that help in improving your mental health.

Gut: Mood and Sleep Regulation

There is a direct Gut-Brain connection. Your gastrointestinal tract and gut health play a major role in improving your mental and emotional health in all ways. The gastrointestinal tract is considered a hub for millions of bacteria that regulates the production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters carry messages from the gut to the brain.

Eating healthy food augments the growth of good bacteria that results in healthier neurotransmitter production.Taking an unhealthy diet like junk foods for a prolonged duration can lead to inflammation and disturb the production of neurotransmitters. When the production of neurotransmitters is good enough, the brain receives clear messages. This is good for your emotional and mental well-being. When production is inadequate, it can lead to mood disorder.

In various studies, it has been found that sugar is the main cause of inflammation and also it feeds bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. By focusing on a healthy diet, you can enhance your ability to focus and concentrate.

Food Good for Your Mental Health

Good food dramatically affects your mental and emotional health. Each food component contributes to normal brain functioning. Your brain needs protein for creating new proteins, cells and tissues. Carbohydrates, proteins and minerals are a few important food components that are mandatory for normal brain functioning. Most nutritionists suggest taking meals including a variety of foods having different nutrients, rather than eating the same mealeach day.

The top three foods that augment your mental diet are-

  • Complex Carbohydrates-Certain foods contain complex carbohydrates such as wholesome foods like brown rice and starchy vegetables provide ample energy to humans. Other foods like quinoa, beets, millets and sweet potatoes have greater tendencies to keep your stomach full for a longer duration in comparison to simple carbohydrates.
  • Lean Proteins-These proteins provide your body with the energy to think and react instantly. Few rich sources of proteins include meat, fish, chicken, fish, eggs, soybeans, nuts and seeds.
  • Fatty Acids-Fatty acids are responsible for your brain and neuron’s ideal functioning. Few rich sources of fatty acids are fish, meat, eggs, nuts and flaxseeds.
  • Real Foods- The market is full of various processed foods with a lot of preservatives, food colourings and additives. These cause health issues among the people like hyperacidity and depression. This, it is best to eat real foods that are minimally processed like fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Fibrous Foods- Fibrous plant-based foods help your body absorb glucose slowly and prevent sugar clangs. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans etc are some popular fibrous food.
  • Antioxidants- Antioxidants are specifically found in green leafy vegetables, turmeric, omega-3 fatty acids etc. It helps to fight inflammation.
  • Folate- It is a type of Vitamin B and aids in dopamine production. It is mainly found in lentils and green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin D- Vitamin D is another vitamin that is good for your mental health and helps in the production of serotonin. Sunlight and mushrooms are good sources of Vitamin D.
  • Magnesium- It is an essential mineral that aids in nerve and muscle functioning to keep your heartbeat healthy. This mineral’s deficiency can affect your gut bacteria and lead to depression. Few natural foods offering magnesium are dark chocolates, almonds, cashews, spinach, green leafy, bananas etc.
  • Probiotic Foods- Certain fermented foods are packed with probiotics and help in improving your mental health. They have few bacteria that are good for your gut health.
  • Berries- These are a good source of Vitamin C and regulate stress hormone named

Cortisol’. Thus, it is the best mood-boosting food for a person dealing with anxiety and depression.

  • Nuts- Most nuts have an amino acid named tryptophan. The amino acids assist in the production of a neurotransmitter named serotonin that helps to regulate mood.

Apart from the above food ingredients, Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc and vitamin B6 also helps in improvising your mental health and mood.

Mindful Eating is Essential

Mindful eating is the best way to take care of your emotional and mental health. When you eat good, you feel good and you think good. Eating a well-balanced diet and paying keen attention to your eating habits can keep you away from numerous emotional and mental problems. It is easy to get an insight into your eating patterns by documenting what, where and when you eat and in which amount.

Most people start overeating when they are stressed. It creates instant happiness but results in health disasters in the long term. You replace big meals with a small portion of meals taken in two to three times instead.