How Your Nutrition Affects Your Mental Health and FIVE Tasty Foods to Improve It

"Good nutrition will prevent 95 percent of all disease." -Linus Pauling

It is generally known that eating healthy foods in moderation is good for physical health. It helps decrease the risk of developing diabetes, obesity, a series of cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.

But surprisingly enough, nutritious foods also have a positive impact on our mental health, as they can help lower stress and decrease the risk of anxiety and depression just to name a few benefits.

But How? How Does Nutrition Affect Mental Health?

To provide a brief explanation of this phenomenon, let's briefly talk about Nutritional Psychiatry (studies nutrition and its impact on mental health).

Don't be scared. We promise it won't be too bad.

The field of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School explains that it all starts with the gut (gastrointestinal tract) and the fact that we have one hundred million nerve cells (neurons) in it.

That's right. We have neurons in our gut, and they are responsible for producing 95% of the serotonin available in our body. 

Serotonin is a chemical released by our neurons, and it's responsible for:

And here's why your nutrition matters: foods that are highly processed prevent our gut from producing serotonin, which can increase our risk of depression, anxiety, and affect our bone health, and appetite.

In other words, serotonin is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to help keep our body and mind regulated.

But now that we understand how our nutrition affects our mental health, or at least part of the process, let's shift focus to the the foods you can start implementing right away to help your body produce more serotonin, and in turn, improve your mental well being. 

Food Ideas to Improve Mental Health: 

The following ideas are just some of the wide variety of foods proven to boost our mental well being. These were chosen because they are easy to implement, relatively inexpensive, readily available at most grocery stores, and they fit a wide variety of diets and recipes! Let's take a look:

  1. Salmon: Not only does this help with mental health, but it's also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.
  2. Poultry (non-fried) such as chicken, turkey, and goose. Not only do these foods help boost mental well being, but they are also quality, low-fat protein sources that help maintain and build muscle. 
  3. Eggs: There is no better feeling in the world than finding out this breakfast staple has positive mental health benefits. Make an omelette with spinach, tomatoes, onions, and cheese for additional flavor! This is a great source of protein as well.
  4. Spinach: This leafy veggie is also a great source of iron (which has a role in creating energy from nutrients in our bodies). Aim to have at least four serving of veggies a day
  5. Walnuts: As a great source of protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are great to eat post-lunch or as a snack (just be very aware of the calories!). 

And there you go, these are five quality foods that you can start implementing today.

If you have any recipe ideas you'd like to share with us, we will be more than happy to feature your recipe, so don't be afraid to contact us at info@iwbathletics.com

We hope this article brings awareness to the importance of your food intake, and once you start adjusting your food, it will also be very helpful to start paying attention to the way your body and mind react, and feel after eating certain foods.

Some effects may not be noticed right away, so it is a good idea to pay attention to hours, and even days after eating them. Only you have control over what you eat, so make sure you make sound decisions in the grocery store.  

We certainly hope you include at least one of our suggested foods in your shopping cart, and when you do, make sure you come back and let us know how they have affected your life. 

Stay Strong and Take Action Today

Start regulating your intake today, but do it slowly. You don't have to quit everything you eat now, but the idea is to keep your diet sustainable, and think long term.

Adjust your diet slowly, finding tasty items that you enjoy and that you know you can buy and eat consistently. 

You only have one body, and one mind, so let's make the best effort to take care of them both and live a healthy life from the inside out.

Thank you very much for reading this post, and let us know what you think below!

If you have any questions for clarifications or collaborations, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@iwbathletics.com 

Don't forget to share this article with someone that will benefit, and keep spreading mental health awareness, physical health, and always remember

You Are UNBREAKABLE.

 Art Credit:

Photo by amoon ra on Unsplash 

 

 

7 comments

  • Awesome information, what we eat does affect our mental health aswell as our physical health.

    Debbie
  • Thank you so much for sharing this information! These are tips that can easily be implemented, which I think makes them more sustainable.

    Sara
  • This was such an interesting read! I never realized this before! I’ll definitely start making more of these foods!

    Breanna / messy buns and mom jeans
  • Good advice! I’d say 2/3 of what I eat daily is because of the health benefits! =) Food is always my first line of defense! Thanks for the list!

    Rachel
  • great advice. Food can be the best medicine!

    karl

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