Everyone has heard the saying “you are what you eat” but I bet many people do not believe that this is really true. Although we know that we need to eat healthy food to be physically healthy, you may not know that what you eat can also affect your mental health. When you think about it you have to admit that it does make sense. What you eat affects your body as well as your mind and a lack of any kind of vitamin or nutrient can cause depression, anxiety, and even cause memory loss and confusion.
You Really Are What You Eat
The truth is, eating certain foods can boost your mood while others can cause a drop in certain hormones and feel-good chemicals, making you feel sad, depressed, fatigued, and anxious. It is true that exercise can get those endorphins and other chemicals moving, but this is multiplied when you eat well too. For example, did you know that nuts, especially walnuts and cashews increase phosphorus and magnesium, which are needed to fight symptoms of depression? They are also low in carbs and high in antioxidants, which are both important to your mental and physical health. Some other types of food that can boost your mood include
- Dark chocolate is one of the best mood boosters and has a high amount of antioxidants as well. Two or three squares per day can boost your mood and increase your resistance to illnesses.
- Coffee, as we all know, has caffeine, which increases your alertness and gives you a burst of energy as well. While you should limit your caffeine intake if you have certain types of illnesses, one cup a day can be a great pick-me-up.
- Oysters are high in omega-3 fatty acids, increase your circulation, and can decrease inflammation. They are also low in calories and have been known to be an aphrodisiac.
- Kale is one of the healthiest foods on earth and has a lot of vitamin K, C, A, and magnesium. These are all great for improving your body and your mood.
- Fish in general are good for your body and your mind. According to experts, the omega-3 fatty acids found in most fish can ease depression and increase serotonin.
- Fruit is beneficial for many reasons and one of them is to reduce stress and improve your mood. Of course, they are good for your physical health as well, and that is always a plus.
- Carbs are not supposed to be good for you, of course, but according to Prevention Magazine, high carbohydrate foods that do not have a ton of fat or protein will cause a boost of tryptophan in your brain that will turn into serotonin, which boosts your mood. Try an English muffin with a bit of strawberry jam to give you a mood enhancement.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, eating healthy is directly linked to better mental health and can help with not only depression but also attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and may even help prevent schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you eat healthy or not, if you or someone you know is depressed or has symptoms of another mental health condition, BetterHelp.com offers online therapy without an appointment and you do not even have to leave your home.