Advice on what you should eat is constantly changing. However, quite often, the focus is on your physical health. There are lots of different ways you can improve your mental health with food by improving your mood, giving you energy, and helping your mind to think more clearly.
Looking after your gut
The way your gut works can often reflect how you’re feeling emotionally. For example, if you’re stressed or anxious, your gut can slow down or speed up. Choosing foods that have plenty of fibre will help your digestion. Furthermore, by eating fibrous food such as whole grains will help your brain. Complex carbs release glucose slowly to your brain, therefore, giving your energy. You’ll feel fuller for longer and have a steady source of fuel for the brain and body. Try any whole-wheat products such as barley, beans, and soy.
Fruit and Veg
Less than half of those who report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day. Enjoying fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables can really benefit your minds. Over the last 60 years, there has been a 34% decline in UK vegetable consumption. It is recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day as a balanced diet and fresh food can help your mental health.
Lean and clean protein
When you eat, the food is broken down into substances that are used to make neurotransmitters and other chemicals that connect your nervous system and your body. In protein, there is an amino acid called tryptophan, which influences your mood by producing serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is associated with depression. Therefore, by including lean protein sources in your diet such as fish and chicken, your serotonin levels are balanced. If u combine this with complex carbohydrates, its even better! Complex carbohydrates facilitate the entry of tryptophan into the brain which can improve your overall cognitive function whilst reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Spice it up
There is a lot of focus on the prevalence of ‘superspices’, however, there are many benefits to introducing spices into your diet. Turmeric, for example, can raise the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These are two neurotransmitters that are responsible for feelings of happiness, therefore, increasing overall emotional welfare.