Mental Health

Foods to Improve Your Mental Health

By July 2, 2019 No Comments

A Healthy Diet Can Help Improve Your MoodFoods to Improve Your Mental Health - Lifeworks Counseling Center

Many people who struggle with their mental health tend to look for a quick fix. Unfortunately, there is no remedy that will immediately relieve them of their anxiety or depression symptoms. However, there are changes in lifestyle that, over the long run, can help as an overall treatment. One of these lifestyle changes involves your diet. There are plenty of foods that can improve your mental health.

Obviously eating one meal is not going to cure you of your condition, but consistently eating healthy can help relieve you of some of your chronic symptoms and get in a more positive mood. Here are some of the foods known to improve your mental health.

Fatty Fish

In most American’s diet, they are sorely missing too much omega-3 fatty acids. Instead, they are supplemented with trans fats and saturated fats which have been known to have negative effects on the brain. Our brains are mostly composed of fats, and since our bodies can’t produce their own essential fatty acids, our diet must consist of foods rich in omega-3s to meet our body’s needs.

Cold water fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel all contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These foods have been known to reduce symptoms of ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, and many more mental disorders. Omega-3s help boost the production of neurotransmitters, chemicals responsible for our moods, such as dopamine and serotonin.

Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, romaine, broccoli, and turnip and mustard greens all contain high levels of folic acids. In many individuals with depression, fatigue, and insomnia, they have a serious deficiency in folate and vitamin B. Having a consistent diet contain leafy greens can help improve your mood.

There have also been reports of a connection between low levels of selenium and poor moods. Broccoli contains small levels of selenium that can help improve thyroid hormone metabolism and reduce depression symptoms.

Lean Protein

Like in fatty acids, lean protein can be broken down in our body to produce neurotransmitters which allow different parts of the nervous system to communicate better. Protein is one of the most common substances found in our body. You can get your lean protein from turkey, fish, chicken, eggs, and beans.

These foods contain an amino acid call tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin. Increasing the input of tryptophan leads to an increase in serotonin in your body, which ultimately improves your mood.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have been linked to boosting the levels of serotonin, but some experts believe that carb craving may indicate a low serotonin level. While your body does need carbs, it is important that you are smart with your selection. Avoid sugary carbs and opt for a more smart and complex option. Whole-wheat products, oats, wild rice, beans, and soy are all complex carbs.

These carbs release glucose slowly, aiding you in feeling full longer and providing your brain and body with a consistent and healthy source of energy.

It can be hard for those with depression to find relief for their symptoms. There is never a quick fix or a solution that works for everyone. Often, it takes a number of lifestyle changes to improve one’s mental health, including improving your diet. Adding this to an active exercise routine as well as seeing a therapist can greatly improve your chances of reducing your depression and anxiety symptoms. Lifeworks Counseling Center is here to answer any and all of your questions regarding improving your mental health.

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