Diet doesn’t just affect our physical health; it can impact our mental health too. Most people are well aware that consuming a balanced diet does wonders for your body, but lately, several studies have revealed that mindful eating is also associated with mental wellness. Researchers believe that poor diet significantly worsens several common mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Let’s dive into the facts to improve overall mental and physical wellbeing with nutritious foods and healthy diets.
The Link Between Mental Health And Food
Food is critical for proper body functioning. Like other body parts, our brain also functions best when it receives a proper, nourishing diet. Healthy food with antioxidants, vitamins, and other micronutrients also protects our brain from the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by free radicals that can damage our brain cells. Eating processed, sugary, and refined foods can make it difficult for our brain to get rid of waste products while impairing normal functioning.
Oxidative stress isn’t just a prominent factor in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s; it’s also linked with depression and anxiety. This is because our diet also substantially affects the functioning capabilities of neurotransmitters, such as the happy hormone serotonin, as our gut is lined with several neurons.
Fun Fact: Did you know that more than 89% of the serotonin found in our body is produced in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract by our gut bacteria?
Now that we know that our brain and gut are intimately connected, here are some diets to follow for better mental wellbeing and mood.
The Rainbow Diet
Polyphenols, the nutrients in plants with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, have shown incredible results in promoting overall wellbeing by improving or preventing depressive symptoms. There are countless plant nutrients that promote mental and physical health, and humans can harness the true power of plants by consuming the food rainbow—orange, red, green, purple, and yellow plant foods.
Short-term fasting or calorie-restricted diets reveal promising outcomes for anxiety, low mood, or depression. A low-calorie diet involves the consumption of fewer calories and less energy than usual.
Beware: Abusing or misusing this diet can lead to eating disorders and nutritional deficiencies. It’s best to consult a healthcare professional or a lifestyle coach before getting started on a low-calorie diet, as the duration and amount of calorie restriction may vary on an individual basis.
There’s credible evidence that suggests that IF can improve mental health and mood. Some researchers believe that it leads to a sense of alertness, wellbeing, tranquility, and happiness. Recent research revealed that people who participated in intermittent fasting experienced a significant reduction in confusion, anger, tension, and mood problems.
Undoubtedly, nutritious diets have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Mindful eating helps our brain remain alert, think clearly, and improve attention span and concentration. On the other hand, poor nutrition can lead to slow decision-making, fatigue, and slower reaction time, increasing the risk of anxiety, depression, and stress.
Fortunately, it’s easy to get your life back on track with a lifestyle coach on board. Schedule a telepsychiatry appointment with us for a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation session with professionals at Ziks Health Services.
We offer a wide range of telehealth behavioral health services for patients looking to improve their health from the comfort of their homes.
Give us a call to learn more.