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Mind Meals: How Your Diet Affects Your Mental Health

Food is powerful, and food is healing!

What we eat can influence our physical health but did you know that and it can also have an impact on our mental health?  

The field of Nutritional Psychiatry is relatively new, however there are observational data regarding the association between diet quality and mental health.

With mounting evidence suggesting that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat may also affect the way we feel. 

Good nutrition is essential for the proper functioning of your brain. It can make a big difference to your overall well-being and especially your mental health. 

What is Mental Health?

mental health

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to her or his community.

Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how you think, feel, and act. It also determines how you handle stress and make choices. 

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected.

Emotions and Eating Patterns

emotions, eating, happy

Foods shapes your emotional responses and your eating patterns.

Research has shown that sadness or anxiety can promote the consumption of unhealthy food, stress can lead to overeating, while some foods may be consumed to fight depression, both consciously and unconsciously.

Experiencing negative feelings can have an appetite-promoting effects and desire for junk food – like an eating-to-cope pattern. This is sometimes known as emotional eating.

It’s common to use food as a coping mechanism for negative emotions.

Your Diet and Mental Health

Multiple studies have found that a poor diet (with high levels of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and processed food products) is linked to poorer mental health .

A poor diet typically lacks any real nutrition, reinforcing the negativity symptoms you may be feeling, furthering this state and contributing to poor health overall.

There’s a strong link between good mental health and good physical health, and vice versa. In the other direction, depression and other mental health issues can contribute to digestive disorders, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, heart disease, and other health issues.

Healthy Mind Diet

diet, healthy

There are many ways to keep your mind and mood in optimal shape. 

One of those ways is healthy eating.

A recent study found that a diet that’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and supplemented with fish oil led to a reduction in depression among participants, which was sustained six months after the intervention. 

fruit and veg, healthy

And it is also among the first providing convincing evidence that you can directly alter your brain health by deciding to change what you put in your mouth.

What should you eat for brain health?

Eating a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and nutrients, may be associated with feelings of wellbeing and improve your mental wellbeing. 

Follow these two simple steps:

Step 1: Consume the following foods on a daily basis

  • High amounts vegetables (especially the green kind).
  • Moderate amounts of fruits
  • Healthy fats (such as olive oil)
  • Whole grains
  • Lean Proteins

Step 2: Try to avoid these foods

  • Fried Food
  • Fast Food
  • Red Meats
  • Cheese
  • Margarine
  • Sweets. 

If you would like to know some other easy ways to boost your mood with food, you may find this article helpful .

What does this mean for you?

Remember that simple is best… The key is to aim for a balanced diet including a protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fats.

Exercise and stress reduction techniques like meditation or mindfulness can also keep your brain — and your body — in tip-top shape.

Now I would love to hear from you……

  • What is the first and simplest step you can take today, to improve your mental wellbeing?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please write a comment below.

October is Mental Health Month. 

If you or someone you know needs support please click the link below for help and some resources:

The Carousel would like to thank Irene Geller for this article.

Written by Irena Geller

Irena Geller is a coach, author and public speaker in the health and weight loss industry who helps women to put down their fork and pick up their life. Her specialty is coaching busy women to liberate themselves from their inner critic, so they can lose weight, feel proud of themselves and eat with freedom.

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