The relationship between food and health is a concept almost every person agrees with. Still, not many people consider food as having anything to do with mental health. The truth is it does play a critical role in a person’s emotional well-being.
So, while you may want to explore different routes to upholding your mental health, you may also want to consider what you eat.
This guide explores the relationship between what you eat and your mental well-being and can be an excellent read for more information about the topic.
1. Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have shown a correlation between blood sugar levels and mental health. Both extremes, low and high sugar levels, will affect the brain.
Common effects of blood sugar level fluctuations include irritability, sadness, anger, sadness, depression, and nervousness. As such, you must go for foods that release energy slowly, such as whole-grain bread and cereal, nuts, and seeds. If you have diabetes, you may want to consider your doctor’s advice on a sugary food diet.
2. Healthy Gut and the Brain
Besides food, research suggests a connection between gut health and the brain. According to health experts, the two are linked through the vagus nerve. As such, the information the gut sends to the brain can influence brain behavior and vice versa. Food plays a role in promoting gut health.
So, when planning a diet with mental health in mind, you will want to consider foods that promote the growth of gut bacteria, which in turn determine gut health. These foods include yogurt, kefir, Sauerkraut, almond olive oils, bone broth, high-fiber foods, etc. Experts believe that 95% of serotonin, the hormone responsible for mood balancing, is produced by gut bacteria. As such, having healthy amounts of gut bacteria can make a huge difference.
3. Mindful Eating
You could be eating the right foods but in the wrong way, which would mean not seeing the results you hope to get, and this is where mindful eating comes into play.
Nutritionists recommend paying attention to how you feel while you eat and after a meal. This could mean keeping a food journal. If you are stressed after eating certain food, you may want to minimize it or find an alternative. At other times, it could be the servings.
For example, if eating three large meals seems to be causing problems, you can break up your meals into small servings and eat five times daily. If you notice patterns that are not easy to decipher in your journaling, consider asking for help from a nutritionist.
This rundown wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that omega-3 fats can be like a turbo boost for your brain. Stacks of studies point out that these fatty acids are superstars when it comes to mental fitness.
Fish, particularly salmon, are known to provide high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. But if you’re not into seafood, grabbing flaxseeds or walnuts can do the trick, too.
These omegas have some mad skills in keeping those cell membranes in your brain flexible, making sure your neurotransmitters are firing on all cylinders. In other words, they help keep your thoughts flowing smoother than a fresh jar of peanut butter. Plus, they’re linked with lower levels of depression and might even sharpen your memory – pretty slick if you ask me.
5. Get Professional Help
Using food as a means of upholding your mental health can only do so much. You may often want to involve a mental health professional for specialized care. Getting professional mental health interventions doesn’t mean that what you eat will not matter. Instead, you may have to combine the two.
Mental health treatment can be expensive. As such, you may want to consider cheaper options without compromising the quality of the services you get. Online options offer the best balance of price and quality of service; the problem is most health insurance providers may not cover services offered by some providers. The internet has useful resources to help you find online therapy covered by insurance, including comparing their pricing and everything you may want to know before engaging one.
As highlighted in this guide, nutrition is critical to mental health. But food alone may not be enough. You may still need to pay attention to how your body responds to different foods and seek mental health therapy from a licensed service provider.