Food For Your Mood: Our Nutritionist Tells What You Should Eat To Boost Your Mental Health
You mental heath linked with your overall health in several ways. Read here to understand the link and what you should eat for better mental health.
Eating healthy can help improve your mental health
- Your mental health can affect your physical health many ways
- Uncontrolled stress is harmful to your health
- Magnesium-rich foods are beneficial to your mental health
A person is called to be healthy if he is mentally socially and physically fit. People often neglect their mental health, which is where many go wrong. Mental health should be considered as a vital part of your well-being. It has been observed that most people lag behind their mental fitness. Poor mental health does not mean that a person is crazy which is a common misconception of people. Taking care of mental health is first step towards self-care.
"Healthy body + healthy mind= happy human"
Physical health is mainly divided into two parts- nutritionally healthy and physically active. A balanced diet and exercise with adequate sleep all contribute to our physical health.
Mental health refers to the wellness of an individual on emotional, social, and psychological levels. And it affects our ability to think, act, feel and how we handle stress and make choices. Mind and body are seldom thought of separately but these should be taken care of together.
So, a thought enters our mind, how are mental health and physical health-related. To begin with, firstly it can be said that poor mental health affects the ability to make healthy decisions. Mental health is closely linked with fatigue; continuous tiredness can lead to a decline in physical health. People who are depressed or anxious are less likely to engage in physical activities and more likely to indulge in bad eating habits, smoking, use drugs and alcohol.
Long-term stress is harmful to your health in many ways. It can lead to higher risk of conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Weakening of immune system
- Upset stomach
- Chest pain
- Eating disorder
- Muscle tension
- Social withdrawal
- Irritability or anger
- Feeling overwhelmed
How can we manage it?
If you have these above problems, you can take some steps to cope up with the stress and have many health benefits.
- Do regular exercise
- Practice meditation, yoga
- Listen to music, read a book.
- Spend time with friends and family
- Seek professional help
Be sure that you are getting enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and follow a balanced diet. Avoid the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
Eating healthy foods promotes the production of "good bacteria" in the gut which sends the signal of feel good hormone; dopamine and which affects our mood. And on the other hand eating, junk food leads to inflammation and hampers the production of good bacteria.
Foods for your mood, and help you with your health:
- Foods rich in omega 3- walnuts, flax seeds, oily fish such as sardines, salmon, canola oil
- Consume probiotics- yogurt, buttermilk, homemade pickles
- Whole grains- brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, millet, amaranth flour
- Antioxidants rich foods- berries, green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, ginger and turmeric
- Vitamin D- exposure to sunlight is the main source of vitamin D and foods rich in vitamin D are mushrooms, egg yolks, salmon
- Magnesium-rich foods- dark chocolate, banana, cashews, almonds, and beans.
- Always remember that if your mental health is starting to affect your physical health. Treat yourself like you are sick and give yourself time to heal, sleep for at least 7-8 hours every night, stay hydrated. Catch up with your friends and family, watch your favorite movies. Reach out for medical assistance if required.
(Monisha Ashokan is a clinical nutritionist at Nourish Me, Delhi)
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