There is a massive amount of awareness about what food types can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. But, not much light has been shed on what to eat to keep your mind hale and hearty. According to Ayurveda, “Food is medicine”, therefore, the association between what you eat and feel is pretty strong indeed.
According to the field of nutritional psychiatry, the brain works differently on different foods. Some food groups can be very uplifting to the mind while many others can leave you feeling sluggish. Ayurvedic practitioners advocate the importance of consumption of sattvic foods for a positive frame of mind.1
Diet Tips For Mental Well-Being
Take a look at some simple and productive dietary changes you can make to ensure mental well-being.
1. Pamper Your Mind With Melatonin And Serotonin
Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is crucial for people suffering from insomnia. Serotonin is the “feel-good hormone” that leaves you feeling all warm and positive. Both of them need the amino acid tryptophan for their production. Therefore, you must have eggs, cheese, pineapple, salmon, whole grains, nuts, dark chocolates and seeds.2
2. Increase Your B12 Intake
The brain needs vitamin B9 and B12 for its proper functioning. Several scientific studies have proved that adequate folate intake can ward away symptoms of depression. People who had the deficiency of B complex vitamins were seen to be suffering from depression.3
3. Have Surplus Amounts Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have the primary function of blocking inflammatory changes in the body including the brain. Recent studies have revealed that they can also reduce the intensity of symptoms in unresponsive depression and schizophrenia. You can get essential omega-3s from seafood, walnuts, chia seeds, and healthy fats.4
4. Give Your Mind Some Sunshine (Vitamin D)
It has been proven that the signs of depression vary with seasons and amount of sun exposure. If you don’t get adequate vitamin D, you are more likely to overthink and feel morose. At least on sunny days, make sure you get 15-20 minutes of sun exposure. Vitamin D fortified foods like cereals, eggs, and salmon can be made as a part of your diet.5
5. Include Probiotics In Your Diet
Many unconventional scientific studies have highlighted the importance of having a probiotic-rich diet as a potential treatment for anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. A healthy gut flora plays a huge role in maintaining both digestive and mental health. Make your own homemade yogurt, kefir, soy, and sauerkraut to prevent unnecessary exposure to chemicals in store-bought ones.
6. Cut Refined Carbohydrates Out Of Your Diet
The brain needs to glucose to thrive. But you should be mindful of what you choose as its source. Refined carbohydrates in baked and processed foods can be easily broken down to release glucose. The sugar rush that you experience after having junk food is because to that. However, the sugar levels in blood fall as soon as it spikes leaving your brain lethargic.6
Eating refined carbs daily will make you develop an unhealthy association with leading to overeating, weight gain, and depression. For the sake of your mental and physical well-being avoid junk foods and eat right.
|↑1||Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food. Harvard Health Publications|
|↑2||Young, Simon N. “How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs.” Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN 32, no. 6 (2007): 394.|
|↑3||Tiemeier, Henning, H. Ruud Van Tuijl, Albert Hofman, John Meijer, Amanda J. Kiliaan, and Monique MB Breteler. “Vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine in depression: the Rotterdam Study.” American Journal of Psychiatry 159, no. 12 (2002): 2099-2101.|
|↑4||Peet, Malcolm, and Caroline Stokes. “Omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.” Drugs 65, no. 8 (2005): 1051-1059.|
|↑5||Anglin, Rebecca ES, Zainab Samaan, Stephen D. Walter, and Sarah D. McDonald. “Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis.” The British journal of psychiatry 202, no. 2 (2013): 100-107.|
|↑6||Ifland, J. R., H. G. Preuss, M. T. Marcus, K. M. Rourke, W. C. Taylor, K. Burau, William Solomon Jacobs, W. Kadish, and G. Manso. “Refined food addiction: a classic substance use disorder.” Medical hypotheses 72, no. 5 (2009): 518-526.|