Could eating an extra piece of fruit or salad with your meal help your mental health and overall recovery? According to new study of 40,000 participants, adding more fruits and veggies to your daily diet may just be as beneficial as taking a walk when it comes to fending off depression and improving your mood.
Perhaps this isn’t too surprising – “you are what you eat,” after all. On the flip side, an unhealthy diet rich in trans fats, sugar and processed and refined foods can up your risk for depression. This is because it deprives the brain of vital nutrients and breeds bad bacteria in the gut, which plays a big part in both physical and mental health.
Here are a few more ways to eat for better mental health:
- Limit caffeine. Too much caffeine can make you feel stressed and jittery and it has even been study-proven to trigger panic attacks in people who have anxiety disorders.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast is needed to fuel your body (including your brain) and jump start your metabolism for the day. Skipping a morning meal can cause fatigue and feelings of “brain fog” as well as cravings.
- Eat like a Mediterranean. A Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fats (like olive oil). According to Mental Health America, people who follow this type of diet are up to 30% less likely to develop depression than those with a diet rich in meat and dairy products.
- Choose healthy fats. Omega-3 essential fatty acids (“omega-3s”) found in fish and fish oil have been widely studied for their heart health benefits – and they may help your mental health, too. Studies have found that omega-3s help with depression, general mood stabilization and can even alleviate short-term symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- Add prebiotics to your diet. There’s a strong link between mental health problems and gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Prebiotics, which are high in fiber and great for the gut include asparagus, bananas (especially if they aren’t completely ripe), garlic, onions, jicama, apples and mangos.
- Try eating more of these. Other foods linked with better mood include avocados, berries, tomatoes, leafy greens, walnuts, seeds and beans.
A Whole-Body Approach to Addiction Treatment
At Spearhead Lodge, we treat the whole person because we know that it offers a stronger chance of lasting recovery. To learn about our holistic approach that focuses on helping young adults develop life skills and attain lasting results for improved mental and physical health, call us today: 866-905-4550.