We know that a good diet is essential to our well-being. But do we know just how much this is so? Studies have shown that there is a clear correlation between mental health and diet. It has also been shown that certain mental states can be influenced by our diets. Because of this, diet has both a short and long-term effect on our mental health and can also play a huge role in developing, fighting and preventing specific mental illnesses.
Balancing your mood
For a balanced mood, a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins has been shown as the best way to go. Other food subclasses that might help in this regard include amino acids, minerals, essential fats and adequate amounts of water.
What to and not to eat
The primary advice is this, eat fewer high sugars and more of what your body needs; whole grain cereals, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruits.
High sugars are usually absorbed very fast into the bloodstream. Because of this, they can cause a spike in the amount of insulin produced by and released into the body. When this initial surge wears off, you can be left feeling tired and lethargic.
On the other end of the spectrum, foods such as wholegrain cereals leave you feeling full without the initial surge in sugar or insulin levels. This means that your body is able to regulate your moods by itself, leading to a much better mental health outlook. These foods also contain folate and zinc (both shown to improve the moods of those suffering from depression) and thiamine, a vitamin that plays a huge role in the regulation of moods.
Carbohydrates: why you need them
Although it has been said that carbohydrates can be bad for you, that is not entirely true. A regulated amount of certain carbohydrates is essential to your well-being. Remember that carbohydrates are the primary fuel of the body. In addition to other health food alternatives, carbohydrates give the brain the energy to stay sharp and functioning as it ought to.
The most important thing to remember is that preparation is key. Even if you have healthy carbohydrate options like potatoes and then fry them, you are not doing your body or your mind any favours. It is always best to try to avoid frying your carbohydrates as much as possible. Instead, consume them boiled or baked instead.
Include Omega Fish Oil in your Diet
Fish oil is usually extracted from fish such as anchovies, salmon and sardines. It usually contains two omega-3 fatty acids; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both of these fatty acids have been shown to play a huge role in helping improve moods, fight mild memory loss, depression and improve your overall mental health.
The fatty acids are essential in the development and overall well-being of the brain. In addition to helping elevate moods, they have been shown to improve intelligence and alertness. Low levels of these fatty acids in the body in adults have been linked to small brain sizes plus the accelerated ageing of the brain.