The Link between Mental Health and Healthy Eating

mental healthWhether you agree or disagree with the following statement: foods really do affect the way, it is true.  Although it may sound silly, science today shows that your body contains not one, but two brains. Obviously, we all know about the brain in our heads. Surprisingly, the other resides in your gut. For this reason, what you eat, directly impacts the way you feel and even think. Therefore, this article seeks to define the link between mental health and healthy eating. Clearly, what you put in your mouth will affect how you feel.

The Brain in Your Gut

As previously mentioned, your gut possess tissue that operates much like a brain, sending and receiving signals in your body. Interestingly, it is also created from the same tissue as your brain, during fetal development. A single nerve connects these two systems, and runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. This nerve is the main route that bacteria in your gut uses to transmit information to your brain.

Keep the gut clean for clean feelings

Maintaining optimal gut health is key to protecting your mental health. Unfortunately, the typical United States western diet does us no favors with this. Among other things, it is chalk-full of genetically modified foods, herbicides, sugars and grains, all of which bring us down.

Foods that tear down

Because some foods are certain to tear down your mental health, it’s important to watch out for them. You should try to eliminate them completely from your diet. If that is not possible, try to limit your intake. Below is a list of foods to look out for:

  • High-fructose corn syrup – High fructose foods feed pathogens in our guts, giving them reign over and damaging our beneficial bacteria. Sugar inhibits the functioning of a very important growth hormone called BDFN, a brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Oftentimes those struggling with depression or schizophrenia have critically low levels of BDNF.
  • Sugar – Sugar consumption triggers chemical reactions in the body that create the chronic inflammation.
  • Genetically modified foods – Genetically modified foods significantly alter our gut flora. They encourage pathogens while destroying the beneficial microbes necessary for prime health, both mental and physical.
  • Glyphosate – Almost one billion pounds of Glyphosate, the most popular herbicide used on food crops throughout the world, are sprayed on food every year. Unfortunately, this poison has been proven to cause multiple nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, which are critical for brain function and mood. Just as frightening, if not more, is the fact that recent cell research reveals that this poison exhibits carcinogenicity in the parts-per-trillion concentration range.

 Foods that build up

Just as certain foods negatively affect your mental health, certain foods also build it up. To help improve your mood or mental state, try incorporating more healthy foods into your regular diet. The foods following are just some of the foods that help improve mood an mental health:

  • Protein – A key to maintaining a chipper demeanor as well as enhanced energy is to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Eating high quality protein throughout the day will accomplish that. Try organic eggs, some almonds, or some Gouda cheese. A high-quality source of protein – like organic eggs, a piece of Gouda cheese or a handful of almonds – helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.
  • Turmeric/Curcumin – Tumeric has become a buzz word within health circles lately, and rightly so. It’s actually the curcumin, or the pigment, that gives the spice its yellow tint. This is also responsible for all the medicinal affects. The neuro-protective properties that tumeric possess help to enhance mood and possibly even help with depression.
  • Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats – Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are a great boost to your emotional well-being. Get a nice dosage in a serving of salmon, which is rich in these fats. While fish is the best way to increase your intake of these fats, it is available in supplement form (krill oil).  Some of the positive effects of omega-3 fats include a reduction in anxiety as well as improved mood.

Watch What You Eat

Overwhelming amounts of research continue to show that what goes into your mouth definitely impacts your mood. Next time you order yourself a meal or make yourself a quick bite to eat, remember the food choices make often determine how you feel mentally. Moreover, if you find yourself feeling overly sensitive, aggressive, or another extreme emotion and someone tells you “it’s all in your head,” the truth just might be that it’s all in your gut.