05 Oct Managing Mental Health with Food
Food has the power to either heal or harm the body. All the choices we make at the grocery store, in the kitchen and at our local restaurants have the potential to impact not only our physical well being, but our mental health too. Wellness fund is wanting to achieve holistic health (that of body, mind and soul) will appreciate the list below, assist in managing and strengthening your mental health.
Salmon has been hailed the fatty fish that will feed your brain, but these bottom-feeders actually contain their fair share of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) themselves. Forming part of the Omega-3 fatty acid family, the DHA found in prawns and trout is crucial for brain and eye development. A diet high in these components has shown to reduce anxiety by up to 50%.
Like marmite, beetroot or pineapple on pizza – you either love liver or you hate it. Regardless of how you feel about the protein, you should consider eating it because, gram-for-gram, it contains the most nutrients found in any organs consumed in the world. Liver is packed with high levels of potassium (pain relieving mineral), as well as generous amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and DHA. EPA works as a great nutrient intervention for treating ADHD symptoms.
These humble powerhouses help keep your body hydrated, which is great for both physical and mental health because H20 flushes out toxins that threaten to harm you. Also known as Salvia Hispanica, the Omega 3-rich seeds fight depression and anxiety, while counteracting glucose levels in the body. A diet high in blood-sugar greatly affects mental health because of the spikes in energy followed by a drastic crashes – this can aggravate dorment mood disorders. Chia seeds reduce sugar cravings.
A Japanese study done over 50 years ago found individuals who ate tomatoes two – six times a week were 46% less likely to report symptoms of depression. This might be due to the high levels of lycopene which give tomatoes their wonderful colour. The antioxidant protects against cell damage.
SPECIAL MENTION: SPICES
Though we are talking about foods that help with mental health, it should be said that cinnamon, saffron and peppermint can certainly impact the state of your mind. Worth its weight in gold and shrouded in mystery, the depression-fighting chemical found in saffron is unknown though scientists have hypothesised that it might be thanks to the spices’ antioxidant properties. Peppermint has proven effective in dealing with attention issues, while cinnamon can help treat ADHD and feelings of irritability.
When taking the decision to make better choices for your mental health, what you eat can impact you as much as what you do not eat. Other than avoiding heavily processed foods (chocolate, crisps, deli meats etc), these food items should be consumed sparingly, if at all:
Similar to sugar, a diet high in caffeine affects its host with high, and unnatural, spikes in energy. When the caffeine is burnt out, individuals might experience withdrawal-type symptoms similar to what is felt by drug addicts. Coffee and energy drink consumers might experience restlessness, nervousness, excitement, muscle twitching, sleeplessness and moments rapid heartbeat, which are all symptoms of caffeine intoxication. Though they might seem harmless, these irregularities affect your mood and behaviour.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant – that alone should tell you enough about the substance. It has the power to alter your brain’s chemistry, affecting your thoughts, feelings and actions, and should be used modestly. Depressants initially make a person feel quite pleasant, this is why alcohol drinkers will experience the elation of being ‘tipsy’ and even ‘drunk’. When the alcohol wears off, feelings of depression and despair will sink in. The highly addictive substance can lead to the deficiency of a B-Vitamin called thiamin, which is known to cause a neurological disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
The secrets to vitality rest in balance. Once you nurture your mind as loyally as you honor your body, you will begin to notice amazing changes to your overall lifestyle. Heal your body from the inside out, it all begins with food.