At home and in school, we’ve been taught that eating nutritious food is essential for a healthy body. But what we’re not always told is that nutrition also plays a key role in the quality of our mental health.
For people coping with depression, eating healthy is even more important since what we eat greatly impacts their mental wellbeing.
Processed food and refined sugars for example can worsen mood disorder symptoms such as depression. If you’re on medication for depression, it’s important to incorporate nutritious foods into your treatment plan. Here’s why.
When you eat diets high in refined sugars and trans fat, you not only worsen your body’s insulin regulation, such habits also promote oxidative stress and brain inflammation that can trigger depressive symptoms, according to a study by Harvard Health.
Eating a diet high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, on the other hand, protects the brain from oxidative stress and produces more energy so you can stay more physically active. When you are physically active for longer periods, you produce endorphins which trigger positive feelings.
So what foods should you avoid when treating depression?
Excessive intake of red and processed meat, sweets, butter, high-fat dairy products, and refined grains is associated with an increased risk of depression.
Meanwhile, a high intake of whole grain, fish, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil is apparently associated with a lower risk of depression.
Ever noticed how you find it difficult to focus or think when you’re hungry? How about feeling grumpy when you haven’t eaten anything yet? That’s because your brain lacks the nourishment it needs.
Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals nourishes the brain which also regulates your mood.
However, eating a diet poor in nutritional value contributes to the development of free radicals that can lead to poor mental health.
To keep a healthy mind and body, store and eat nutritious snacks such as vegetable sticks, fruits, and nuts. Avoid munching on junk food like chips, candies, and drinking soda.
When you eat nutritious food, you become healthier and feel good about yourself which improves your mental health according to Dr. Drew Ramsey, a leading psychiatrist at Columbia University.
Incorporating nutrition into mental health and wellness programs can boost a person’s mood, mental health, and physical health especially if they see how it positively impacts their body.
Eating healthy food positively affects your neurotransmitter production which allows your brain to receive positive messages clearly. When this happens, you feel more positive and your mood is in a better state.
However, when you eat a diet high in junk food and refined sugars, your neurotransmitter production drops, which can increase the risk of depressive symptoms.
Serotonin is a chemical that acts as a mood stabilizer in your brain. When you have healthy serotonin levels, you sleep better and feel good, which decreases depressive symptoms.
What many people don’t know is that you can naturally increase your Serotonin levels through healthy food choices.
An increased intake of eggs, salmon, pineapple, nuts and seeds, tofu, and cheese can boost your serotonin levels which can stabilize your mood. Additionally, these food choices are good for your body.
Proper nutrition is essential especially for people on medication for depression. The evidence is there.
At Bella Jace Center for Health, we are committed to a holistic approach to improving your mental health. If you want to incorporate nutrition into your treatment plan for depression, schedule a consultation with us by calling (615) 846-4558, or sending an email at email@example.com. You can also fill out our contact form, and we’ll be sure to get back to you.