If you're feeling down in the dumps, perhaps it's time to reconsider your eating habits. There is growing evidence that the foods we eat have a strong influence on our mental health and happiness, in addition to their influence on our physical health and quality of life.
Before we explore further, it's essential to understand what nutritional psychiatry involves. Nutritional psychiatry is a rapidly growing area of psychiatry that focuses on the relationship between nutrition and mental health. It is based on the notion that a person's diet affects their mental health and that a lack of proper nutrition may trigger mental health disorders.
A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes and protects the brain from oxidative stress, a form of cellular damage caused by oxidative waste known as free radicals. Oxidative stress has been linked to anxiety disorders and depression as it makes it difficult for the brain to produce serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters associated with happiness.
What effect does diet have on one's state of mind?
Multiple studies have shown that eating a lot of sugar has negative effects on brain function and aggravates mood disorders including depression. Overconsumption of sugar triggers chemical imbalances in the brain that can potentially lead to mental disorders. In addition to interfering with insulin control, and causing inflammation and oxidative damage, refined sugars are also harmful to the health of your liver.
A healthy diet increases the production of new neurons and molecules that protect neurons from degenerating and enhance cognitive abilities. This new neuron growth in the brain can help us learn, remember, feel good, pay attention, and keep our minds healthy. Moreover, a healthy gut enables gut microbes to produce more serotonin and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a receptor that relaxes the nervous system and reduces anxiety.
If you're a night owl prone to mood swings after midnight, nutritious snacks can help you stay up late and study without feeling too sluggish.
What should you eat?
According to research, a Mediterranean diet lowers the risk of depression by ensuring an adequate intake of important sources of nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts or fish, all of which are vital for preventing depression.
It is essential to stay hydrated and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. A blend of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates are essential for proper functioning.
List of brain foods:
Chicken, lean meat, fish, eggs, milk, and quinoa are all excellent choices for protein and calcium sources.
Extra-virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish, avocados, milk, and eggs are all examples of healthy fats.
Whole grain bread, pasta, cereal, peas, beans, brown rice, oats, soybeans, and legumes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Fruits, green and leafy vegetables, and probiotics such as yogurt are vital for gut health since your stomach reflects your mood.
Trans fats, such as those found in fried foods, processed meat, candies, and high-fat dairy products, have a negative impact on the brain, enhancing restlessness and aggression. If you are lacking in nutrients, you can combine your diet with food supplements.
Supplementation of zinc, magnesium, omega 3, probiotics, and vitamins B and D3 has been proven to enhance mood, and relieve anxiety and stress. Keep in mind that even though supplements might be beneficial, they are not designed to replace a healthy meal.
Poor nutrition can lead to a variety of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and ADHD. Conversely, good nutrition is essential for maintaining mental health, preventing mental illness, and promoting quality of life.
Don’t be hesitant to contact us if you or someone you know is experiencing eating disorders or needs direction or encouragement on their path to mental wellness. Whatever the case may be, you can always count on Project C Foundation.
------------By Aishwarya Girish