Does Your Diet Influence Mental Health?
Thousands of years ago, most people didn’t really think about what they ate, and because the science of food wasn’t discovered yet, people weren’t really aware that what they ate affected their overall health, not only physically, but mentally as well. Eating a well-balanced diet like food packed with nutrients may be associated with overall mental health.
However, people before never realized this until the 20th century. It was in this age when people valued the importance of nutritious food intake because it is also at this age that people became obese at a very early age with a lot of complications that could even lead to an early death. When people found out the great impact of what you eat, they became vigilant about what they feed their bodies.
Does Your Diet Influence Mental Health?
This has been a nagging question for years. And to answer that question, yes, it does. Your chosen diet can influence your mental health and here’s why. Your brain is like a machine. It is always working 24/7 even when you are asleep. It takes everything from your thought, movements, breathing power, senses, and heartbeat.
This means your brain is a working machine that needs a constant supply of fuel. The fuel that we are talking about is the food that you take. And whatever food you eat will make a huge difference. It will affect every single function of your brain, especially your thoughts and mood.
Simply put, your brain is like the machine of a Ferrari – it only functions at its best when it runs on the best fuel. Likewise, eating high-quality food packed with nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants can protect the brain from cell damage.
On the other hand, like a machine, when given a low-quality fuel i.e. processed or preserved food, the brain doesn’t get the nutrition it needs to function properly. Let’s say for example when you eat nuts, your brain is more alert than normal; likewise, when you eat sugary food, you tend to feel like your body is shutting down.
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 Americans has some type of mental illness each year. Depression is the second leading cause of heart disease and even disability according to their studies. The most unfortunate part is this doesn’t only affect adults but teenagers and children as well. In fact, the risk of depression affects 80% of children and teens due to the low quality of food intake which they acquire from a poor diet. For example, a low supply of omega-3-fatty-acids has an effect in balancing moods. An unhealthy diet can lead to both depression and anxiety that can affect both kids and adults.
Healthy Food for a Sound Mind
Knowing that your food can affect your overall mental health, it is better to choose the food you eat that can give you energy, help you think more clearly, and improve your mood. Here is a list of food that can improve your mental health.
Foods that can help you stay focused on are:
- Fatty fish
- Green leafy vegetables
- Dark chocolate
Foods that can boost your mood are:
- Wild Alaskan salmon
- Other oily fish
- Canola oil
Food that helps that can give you more energy:
- Brown rice
- Coffee (in moderate intake)
Take Control of Your Mind
We are in control of our health – both mind and body. So, take control. Make sure to supplement your body with food that is good for your brain. Avoid eating processed and sugary foods that are proven to affect one’s mental health. Also, make sure that you observe healthy eating habits. Eat at the right time, take time in tasting and enjoying your food, and make sure that eating is always an experience that you look forward to.
Although you need to be watchful and make sure you are eating healthy food, don’t make yourself feel pressured. Instead, make every meal a fun experience. Put some love and joy when preparing your food. And most of all, enjoy and savor each bite that you take. You think what you eat so eat happily, and you’ll surely have positive and happy thoughts.
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