As humans, we face various emotions in our daily lives. Sometimes, our days go great, and we couldn’t imagine how they could’ve gone better. Other times, however, we face challenges and stressors that can leave us feeling sad, angry, and overwhelmed. By human nature, we experience fluctuations in our mental health. Although emotional fluctuation is inevitable, there are some things that we can do to benefit our mental well-being, including eating foods that are good for our mental health.
In this blog, I’ll explain some foods that have a positive impact on our mental well-being. Read on to discover what they are!
Foods that Have a Positive Impact on Mental Health:
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a fundamental role in the development, aging, and overall function of the brain. They’re crucial in maintaining mental health, and studies have shown that they can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with an increased risk of psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, dementia, and schizophrenia. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are said to be effective in both stabilizing mood and enhancing the overall effectiveness of antidepressants.
2. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, contain probiotics that can help to regulate the gut microbiome and improve gut health. This, in turn, can have a positive impact on mental health since the gut and brain are connected through the gut-brain axis. Fermented foods have the ability to balance the bacteria in your gut, and as a result, this produces ‘feel-good’ brain chemicals such as gamma-aminobutyric acid and serotonin. Furthermore, research suggests that the consumption of fermented foods may serve to reduce social anxiety. Lastly, studies on fermented foods suggest that they may lower stress levels, which is an important element of mental health.
3. B Vitamins
Playing a vital role in the production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood, B vitamins are critical to brain health. Not only have they been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety, B vitamins have also been shown to improve cognitive function, including memory and mental clarity. Leafy greens, including spinach, turnips, and romaine lettuce, whole grains, and nuts are all excellent sources of B vitamins. Incorporating these foods into your diet can be very beneficial!
4. Dark chocolate
Calling all chocolate lovers… this one’s for you! Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation and improve brain function. It also contains endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that can improve mood and reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Although there are some negative conceptions of chocolate, eating dark chocolate proves to have various mental health benefits, and it may actually be a food to incorporate into your diet!
In conclusion, diet plays a very important role in promoting and maintaining mental health, and incorporating these foods into your diet could have a positive impact on your own mental well-being.
So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, instead of walking over to the ice cream aisle or being tempted by the 20 flavors of chips on the shelf (as I personally do all too often), try considering picking up some of these mental health-boosting foods. I promise your mind will thank you!