Happy Gut, Happy Life: The Connection Between Food and Mental Health
When we hear the words “healthy food”, what we usually associate with it is physical health. Dieting usually means eating the right food to avoid certain diseases and to have a fitter body. However, good food might have more of an impact other than the physical side.
Food is also a way to have a healthier mind. The gut contains hundreds of millions of neurons that connect to the brain. There have already been several studies that looked into the relationship between food and mental health, like how chances of depression and dementia can be decreased through a Mediterranean diet.
We need to have a happy relationship with our food. What’s important is that we know not only what is good and healthy to eat, but also what we actually want to eat. Carbohydrates are usually a big no-no when it comes to dieting, but it is not all bad.
If you do not want to stop having carbs, there are better alternatives that are more nutrient-dense, one of these is purple sweet potatoes. Purple sweet potatoes have higher nutrients per calorie and it’s also good for your gut since the microbiome or the bacteria in your gut very much agrees with resistant starches.
Another food that is high in nutrients is mussels and oysters. Oysters are really good to have on a regular basis. However, if raw food does not sit well with you, then mussels are a good and cheaper way to get similar nutrients: omega-3, B12, and protein.
And what is probably just as important as having good healthy food is the bigger picture of how food also plays a role in building relationships. When we share a meal with people, especially our loved ones, it creates a connection. And this is also a major effect of food on our mental health other than the nutrients that are provided. Sitting down while enjoying a good meal with great people can allow for the most amazing memories to happen.
Who doesn’t love food? And who doesn’t want to have not only a healthier body but also a healthier mind through eating? We often link treatment of mental illnesses to drugs and therapy, but now that we know about this other option, it can be very empowering to know that there is also help beyond what we usually know. That something as simple as mindful eating can already have a big impact on our overall well-being.
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