Food + Mental Health
Eating healthy is one of the easiest ways to positively affect your mental health. Not only does it affect your energy levels, it also affects your moods.
In this post, we will discuss some easy additions (and one subtraction) you can make today to begin changing your mental health for the better.
This is truly the miracle liquid. There are so many incredible benefits to drinking plenty of water. This article by Medical News Today, lists them. They all affect your mental health in the end, but the one that I want to focus on is the fact that water cushions the brain, spinal cord and other sensitive tissues in your body. Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.
The amount of water needed each day varies from person to person, depending on how active they are, how much they sweat, and so on. There is no fixed amount of water that must be consumed daily, but there is general agreement on what a healthy fluid intake is. This means that:
Men should drink around 100 ounces, or 12.5 cups of fluid
Women should drink around 73 ounces, or just over 9 cups
2. Green Tea.
Adding one cup of green tea to your daily regimen will help reduce inflammation in your body and also help to fight cancer. Green tea is also high in antioxidants. In this article from Healthline, it explains that antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can harm your cells. It's amazing to think that a cup of tea can have so many benefits!
3. (Less) Sugar.
Sugar in and of itself is not bad for you. Too much sugar is. Excessive sugar intake can lead to inflammation, heart disease and stroke. Inflammation takes place all over your body, but inflammation in your brain slows down the firing between neurons, and the overall operation of the brain slows down. This is what causes your brain function to be foggy, dull, and slow.
This article by ChiroProPerformance states that one of the most common symptoms of brain inflammation is brain fog, that feeling of slow and fuzzy thinking. Other common brain inflammation symptoms include depression anxiety, irritability, anger, memory loss, and fatigue. Even getting a song stuck in your head is a symptom.
Instead of trying to cut sugar out completely, start by reducing the amount of sugar in your diet. Pay attention to how much sugar is in your foods, you'd be amazed all the savory foods that have added sugar, like red pasta sauce and salad dressings.
4. (More) Fiber.
We've all heard that we need to eat more fiber, but many of us don't really understand why it's so important, besides helping us go to the bathroom.
This article from Mather Hospital explains that prebiotics and fermentable fiber are important contributors to mental health as they feed the probiotics in the human gut. Research has also shown that these nutrients have positive effects on reducing anxiety, depression and stabilizing levels of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Some easy ways to add more fiber is by eating oatmeal, chia seeds or yogurt on a daily basis.
Here's a great recipe to try:
Ginger Pear Oatmeal
by Healthy Little Cravings
50 gr Oats
200 gr Water
1 level teaspoon Ginger powder - (or more)
Honey (I use chestnut honey)
a pinch Salt
half a teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Measure all your ingredients then put oats and salt into a pan or pot, pour the water and bring to a boil at medium low heat. After a minute or so, add vanilla extract. Remember to stir often.
In the meantime, wash your pears and cut them in half. Heat a cast iron grill pan, then grill your halves until slightly caramelized.
When the oatmeal is nice and creamy, add ginger powder and stir.
Serve your oatmeal with the caramelized pear and honey (and seeds if you want). Happy breakfast!
There you are! Better mental health begins with better food choices and more water. Now go pursue confidence by making one of these changes today!