Food is one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to mental and emotional health. The truth is that fostering good mental health without fostering a healthy diet is impossible. Acting as body fuel, food provides the body with healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, etc that it needs to function properly.
Numerous researches have proved that a nutritive diet gives a boost to our mental health in innumerable ways. On World Mental Health Day, celebrated every year on 10th October, the awareness campaigns are run to create awareness about mental health and its aspects. Food being of the preventive-curative measures is a possible cure. Dr. Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director at Atmantan Wellness Centre, suggests five food types that boost our mental health in different ways.
Carbohydrates are the body’s fuel and are found in two forms – simple and complex. While simple is a more addictive form that causes a spike in blood sugar levels the complex helps the body to release glucose slowly and fuel the body in a prolonged state. Simple carbs are found in white flour, sugar, potato, rice, etc. Complex carbs are found in food that is more natural and fresh like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. Cutting out on simple carbs and including complex carbs makes the body and mind relax internally. This helps de-stress, decrease depression, maintain sleep, and relax the muscles for the bodywork on its healthy and optimum self.
The oxidative stress and body inflammation are fought by the savior super nutritive ingredients called the antioxidants. Found abundantly in fresh and colorful fruits and vegetables, the antioxidants are responsible for fighting the free radicals and helping release the feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Including antioxidant food like strawberries, blueberry, lemon, tangerine, etc in the diet improves the body’s ability to release stress and experience mental well being!
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Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fat for the body that plays a protective role and helps in the working of the happy hormones. But this fat isn’t produced in the body in any form and is to be consumed by way of food. The fatty acid is known to decrease dementia, increase brain functioning and decrease depression too. Food items like olive oil, fish, eggs, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, nuts, etc contain omega-3 fatty acids in good amounts to get the nutrition from.
The gut system is often referred to as the second brain of the body. Its network and presence of microorganisms help keep a healthy digestive system, build up strong immunity and send signals for the brain to function in alignment with the body’s need. Probiotics like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, etc are good bacteria that aid digestion, cleaner intestine, and strong gut network. When your gut is healthy, the brain gets signals of relaxation, destressed and happy. It helps control body inflammation, strengthens the immune system and decreases depression.
B Vitamins play a major role in the release and balance of happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine. A deficiency in Vitamin B leads to impaired reasonability of the brain, stress, depression, etc. With food like whole grains, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, cottage cheese, mushrooms, fortified grains, nutritional yeast, etc you can improve on the B Vitamins complex and aid in sharper, faster and healthy working of the brain. As B Vitamins balance the happy hormones it is significant for physical fitness, emotional balance, and mental well being.
Apart from leading an active and stress-free life, food is one of the major contributing factors to mental well being. The nutrition in the food helps the brain gets its essential fuel and works effectively and optimally. Follow a brain-friendly diet to boost your mental health and well being!