Can you “eat to beat” depression, stress, anxiety, and brain fog? According to the science coming out of the field of nutritional psychiatry, the answer is absolutely: yes!
WHY IT MATTERS
The world can prove to be quite stressful, especially recently, and your mental health can suffer during times where the environment feels out of your control. Unfortunately, too often we turn to foods that compound the problem by adding more stress and inflammation to your mind-body system. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, did you know that:
- Nutrition is the most important environmental factor within your control that affects your mental health
- Overeating refined sugars, ultra-processed carbs, and inflammatory fats – some of the foods we crave to reach for when stressed – has been shown to directly inflame our mood, brains, and temper
- There is a direct correlation between anxiety, depression, and memory loss, and too little of key nutrients like magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and the B-vitamins
- A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids and other nature-based nutrients makes it so your body’s messenger molecules won’t be able to communicate effectively with your brain
Make a change this month by using food to boost your mental health and improve your mood!
Boost your mental health and improve your mood: with food!
The first step to improve your mental health through nutrition is to eliminate refined sugars, ultra-processed foods, inflammatory fats, and artificial sweeteners. Then introduce more high-quality foods like the ones below to optimize your mental health.
NUTS & SEEDS
Nuts and seeds contain tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin, which stabilizes our mood, happiness, and memory. Other foods high in tryptophan include chicken, eggs, and turkey.
The purple, red, and blue colors found in blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and others come from anthocyanins which have been shown to reduce depressive systems and boost cognitive function.
FATTY FISH, SALMON, & OYSTERS
60% of your brain is made of DHA – an essential anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid. Oysters, salmon, and fatty fish like tuna, sardines, cod, and trout are high in omega-3s and should be consumed regularly.
Sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, miso, and other fermented foods feed and improve your gut microbiome which makes serotonin, manufactures vitamins, and improves your immune system.
HERBS & SPICES
Spices like cinnamon, cloves, turmeric, and even black pepper; and herbs like rosemary, sage, and oregano are especially high in polyphenols which can keep your blood vessels healthy and flexible, and improve every part of your mental wellbeing.
“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates