When it comes to mental health, people focus more on meditation, yoga and psychiatric consultations. While we agree, these procedures do help calm you down and beat anxiety and stress, what we often ignore is the food we eat. Believe it or not, your diet is directly linked to your mood and mental health. Every food you eat has certain properties that either help promote a good mood or add up to your stress and depression. Then there are foods affecting your memory and cognitive functions too. Hence, health experts from around the world stress including healthy foods and nutrients in your diet to keep up good mental health.
Nutrition And Mental Health: How Food Plays A Major Role In Improving Or Deteriorating Your Mental Health?
We all know that good food is linked to good mood. But have you ever wondered what good food is? Some of you might think that a tub of ice cream or a box of chocolate is defined as good food as it makes us happy at any given point. The fat content in these sugary foods increases serotonin production in the body, uplifting your mood instantly. However, in the longer run, they leave a bad effect on your health, including increased risks of diabetes, obesity and cognitive impairment.
A study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), found that there are certain foods and dietary patterns that leave an effect on glycaemia, immune activation, and the gut microbiome - all of which may further come together and play a role in the relationships between food and mood. Hence, health expert Suman Krishnaraj suggests including foods that contain proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients in your diet to benefit your overall mental health.
In the next section of the article, we will look into certain dietary patterns and good food options that may have a positive effect on your mental health. Read on.
Also Read: Fermented Foods To Add To Your Diet For Better Mental Health
5 Diet Tips To Improve Mental Health:
1. Eat Carb Rich Foods:
Carbohydrate is one of the most important nutrients for our overall development. Good carbs like whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, lentils and beans may help promote the production of Serotonin in your brain that helps you overcome stress and beat your anxiety.
2. Include Fresh Fruits And Vegetables:
The importance of fruits and vegetables needs no separate introduction. They are loaded with fibre, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and essential minerals that come together to help you create a healthy diet regime for overall nourishment and also improve mental health.
3. Eat Nuts:
Almonds have long been associated with good memory. Wonder why? It is because almonds, walnuts etc are enriched with protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are known to have a direct association with improved cognitive functions.
4. Regulate Your Meal Timings:
Besides what you eat, it is equally important to keep a check on when you eat your meals. It is important to keep a check on what you eat. Several studies have found that the time intervals at which we eat throughout the day are linked to our food choices, gut microbiome and oxidative stress - all of which affect our productivity, sleep pattern and overall mood and mental health.
5. Avoid Alcohol Consumption:
Alcohol may give you temporary relief from stress. But regular consumption may stop the natural production of serotonin in your body, which may lead to increased anxiety, stress and mood disorders.
Also Read: How To Deal With Anxiety? 9 Foods To Manage Anxiety Naturally - Expert Reveals
Why You Should Avoid Eating Ice Creams And Chips To Uplift Your Mood?
Let's agree, we all have a tendency to reach out for ice creams, chocolates, chips, fries and all the decadent delicacies to uplift our mood. This phenomenon is called stress eating or emotional eating as per health experts, it affects you badly in the longer run. Let's explain it further. Stress eating leads to excess consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods that leads to increased toxins, oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. These factors prevent proper oxygen and blood flow in the brain, which may further lead to mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.
A study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, also stressed that junk food is not only harmful to metabolism but also increases the risk of psychological problems such as bipolar disorder and depression, irrespective of personal characteristics such as age, gender, education and marital status.
Considering it all, we say, avoid giving in to your cravings for junk food and make the right food choices for healthy living. Alongside, give your body proper rest and enjoy a good night's sleep to keep yourself happy and healthy for long. Always remember, 'You are what you eat'!
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.