Ever wondered whether there is a connection between the foods you consume and your mental health? Well, as per the study of nutritional psychiatry, the foods that you consume have an effect not only on your physical health but also on your mental health. Likewise, research studies state that your diet has an effect on mental health. Whereas some nutrients improve your wellbeing, others aggravate conditions like anxiety and depression.
Nutritional psychiatry is concerned with using diet to enhance your wellbeing. Also, the study recommends foods and supplements, not medicines, to treat mental health issues. As such, nutritional psychiatry actually perceives ‘you are what you eat’.
All the same, you must consume a variety of foods for the body to benefit from the host of minerals and vitamins and for a healthy you. So, you should opt for a nutritious diet that comprises of fruits and vegetables for the body to receive a good range of nutritional elements. On the other hand, there can be adverse effects on health if you deprive the body of nutrients.
Indeed, there are several benefits of a clean diet. These include boosting energy levels, facilitating the removal of toxins from the liver, balancing hormones, regulating thyroid function, and enhancing mood.
Further, you should eliminate processed foods, alcohol, additives, refined foods, and caffeine from your diet.
Importance of a Healthy Gut
Note that maintaining a healthy digestive system is key for your emotional wellbeing and keeping you in high spirits. This is because there is a connection between your gut and brain.
On the contrary, upheavals in the gut bacteria adversely affect the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. In turn, your mood is affected.
More so, over 90 percent of serotonin is produced in the gut. Now, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that manages sleep and mood. Thus, having a healthy gut is important for the seamless production of serotonin.
Foods that are beneficial for Mental Health
Incorporate the following foods into your dietary regime for a positive mindset.
B-complex Group of Vitamins: Foods such as dairy products, legumes, whole grains, yeast extracts, and fortified varieties of breakfast cereals are sources of these nutrients.
Iron: Some good sources of the iron mineral are liver, canned varieties of fish, red meat, soybean, lentils, bread, and fortified breakfast cereals.
Selenium: Foods such as eggs, fish, meat and brazil nuts contain the selenium mineral.
Folate: Sources of folates include beans, green vegetables, breakfast cereals, citrus fruits, liver, and yeast extract.
The Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are believed to benefit mental health, but there are no studies to ascertain the same as yet. Flaxseed oil, seeds, flaxseeds, nuts, and linseeds are some good sources of the Omega fats.
Besides, some research studies indicate that consuming fish can reduce depression symptoms. In fact, the best fish sources are the carnivorous cold-water fish varieties; these include salmon, herring, and mackerel.
Foods that Harm Mental Health
Avoid the following foods for they can be harmful to your mental health.
Processed foods: Processed foods tend to cause inflammation, so you can suffer from IBS and mood irregularities with their consumption.
Caffeine: Caffeine affects blood sugar, sleep and leads to lower levels of chromium and B-vitamins. Now, chromium is required for balancing the blood-sugar levels, and thus, caffeine is best avoided.
Refined sugar: Refined sugar leads to anxiety and depression. Cakes, fizzy drinks, chocolate, sweets, and biscuits contain refined sugar; hence, you should avoid their consumption.
Alcoholic drinks: Consuming alcohol leads to lower serotonin and B-vitamin levels. Here again, serotonin is the feel-good hormone and its depleting levels can have an adverse effect on your mood. Also, the loss of the B-group of vitamins is harmful because they are important for the functioning of nerves, brain, and energy production.