Can nutrition really affect your mental health? The answer, in short, is yes.
Mental health awareness has grown tremendously in recent years, with multiple positive campaigns enabling more and more people to speak up and receive the support they need. However, one of the most obvious, yet under-recognised issues associated with mental health is poor diet or lack of nutrition.
Recent studies have shown that almost two thirds of people who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or drink fruit juice every day. In contrast those suffering with mental health problems have reported poor appetite, a habit to skip meals, and a dominant desire for sweet tasting foods.
What to avoid
We don’t need to tell you that sugary foods are one of the worst things for a balanced diet. Not only are they bad for possible weight gain and health problems, but they can also play a huge part in affecting your mental state.
Sugary foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which can cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy that soon wears off as the body increases its insulin production, leaving you feeling tired, low and with potential anxiety. Not only that, sugar can cause blurry vision, difficulty thinking and fatigue, increasing worry and fear.
So, what should I eat?
The old saying that ‘breakfast is the most important meals of the day’ rings true. Having a good, solid breakfast sets you up for the day and can make you feel more awake and ready to take on the day! Plus, it will keep you full for longer and you won’t be as tempted to snack in between meals.
Omega-3 One of the most important foods to incorporate into your diet is omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in several oily fish. According to research, these fatty acids contribute to our brain tissue and can help lower your risk of depression and low mood. Eating salmon, mackerel and sardines regularly will keep your brain healthy and will improve your mood by keeping your brain cells ‘flexible’.
Fruit and Veg
It may be obvious, but it’s true – high quantities of fruit and veg are a must for mental health. In particular, Lentils and Bananas are a good source of amino acid tryptophan as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrate. All of these can help with boosting your mood and can also aid sleep! You can read about the affects of sleep deprivation on your mental health here.
So, where do we go from here?
As research has shown, we cannot ignore the massive links between our nutritional and mental health. Eating good food promotes overall health and well-being, but what you eat can hugely impact how you feel. Why not try it yourself for one week and let us know if you felt a difference by getting in touch with us here at The Healthy Worker? We’d love to hear from you.
If you would like to know more about the services we provide here at The Healthy Worker, please feel free to get in touch on 01684 231461 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.