If you’re like many people, you’re always looking for more ways to boost your overall health. There are lots of ways to achieve a healthy balance of body and mind, and food plays a significant role in that.
Beyond exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, what we put into our bodies has a direct impact on our mental health. If you’re looking for foods to add to your routine to keep your emotional well-being in tip-top shape, keep reading to make sure these are on your next grocery list.
They say that our gut is our second brain. Numerous studies have shown a direct link between diet and depression. You likely know that yogurt is full of beneficial probiotics that keep our guts healthy. Probiotics have been shown to impact stress and activity levels positively, so make sure you eat them regularly to keep such issues at bay.
Primarily eaten as a healthy source of fats, avocados can also boost your mental wellbeing. Avocados are rich in lutein which has shown a positive benefit to brain function and makes them a powerhouse for protecting your mood. In addition to that, avocados are also excellent sources of Vitamin K and folate, which have been shown to prevent strokes.
Having a sweet tooth isn’t always a bad thing! Dark chocolate is full of vital nutrients that our bodies – and minds need. Dark chocolate may help your mental health as it’s full of flavonoids that have been shown to help with memory issues and cognitive function and boost memory. If you have an older person in your life whose mental health is suffering because of loss in these areas, encourage them to eat dark chocolate; the darker, the better!
This powerful superfood is not only delicious, but it’s been shown to help with anxiety, stress, and depression. Acai is rich in vitamins integral to health like Vitamin K, A, D and E. It has been shown to stimulate the nervous system by increasing the release of feel-good hormones in our brains. Acai can aid with mental clarity and sharpness too. Enjoy a bowl or put some in your morning smoothie to feel great all day.
Speaking of smoothies, using spinach as a base for your smoothie is a great way to boost your mental health. Spinach is rich in folic acid (like all leafy greens). High folic acid consumption is linked with lower rates of depression. There are many ways to enjoy this delicious vegetable, so if you suffer bouts of depression, please add spinach to your following shopping list. Better even to start your garden and grow your own!
Go nuts for nuts and see a substantial positive boost to your mental state. Nuts are excellent sources of fats if you’re eating a vegan diet, but they do so much more! Cashews are superstar nuts, not to mention delicious. They have been shown to increase oxygen supply to the brain due to their high magnesium content. Additionally, almonds contain the compound phenylalanine, which can aid the brain in producing dopamine. Avoid grabbing highly processed and sugar-laden convenience foods when you’re hungry by keeping healthy nuts in your day bag as a mood-boosting snack.
What To Avoid
Hopefully, many of the above-mentioned foods are in regular rotation at your home and if they’re not, add them to your next grocery cart. But it also should be mentioned what you need to avoid to make sure your mental health is where you need it. You want to avoid simple carbs like cereals, pieces of bread, and pastries. Instead, opt for whole-grain foods.
It’s also important to limit the amount of caffeine you consume, especially if you’re prone to stress and anxiety. While coffee may seem like a lifesaver, it doesn’t even give you energy; it just blocks fatigue signals – opt for a healthy Matcha instead. Sugary drinks and sodas are even worse than coffee as they’re loaded with processed ingredients and harmful chemicals; avoid them.
Your health is in your hands alone, including your mental health. Take charge of it today by including foods that combat the issues you face, psychological or physical. Here’s to your health!