The feeling of anxiety in a person can be caused by many internal and external factors. There is a natural way to manage this feeling that you may not have known about yet, and that is food. Yes, what you eat can literally improve or worsen your mental health.
Foods To Avoid
Every main meal and snack should include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. And you should avoid foods containing fast carbohydrates, refined sugar, starch, artificial stimulants, and depressing drinks, such as alcohol. Yes, all these can negatively affect mental health. Excessive consumption of alcohol is especially harmful; this is because alcohol act as a depressant.
It hinders your brain’s neural activity and functioning, affecting your mental health. Thus, one must quit alcoholic beverages to retain good mental health. For this, you can take assistance from addiction treatment centers near you.
Foods For Good Mental Health
Prevention of anxiety disorders and depression through nutrition is absolutely simple. And this is also an effective way to lose weight, improve health, get sustainable results, and not go crazy with hunger.
1. Slow Carb Diet
Nutritious organic fast food, created by nature itself, are:
- Buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, and other whole grains
- Lentils and other legumes
All of them contain a lot of fiber and slow carbohydrates, which are beneficial for our body and maintain optimal metabolic rate. These unprocessed carbohydrates naturally supply the body with minerals, B vitamins, which help the body break down and use the energy in these foods. Don’t forget to combine them with some protein and fat for extra mental calmness.
Eggs are not only a source of complete protein. They also contain lecithin and choline, which are necessary for proper methylation and efficient functioning of the nervous system. Choline is a key element in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
It is used instead of “jet fuel” by the nervous system and supports cognitive function. Studies show that one of the features of Alzheimer’s disease is a noticeable decrease in the concentration of acetylcholine.
3. Walnuts And Flaxseeds
It is necessary to introduce foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids into the diet more often:
- Sardines, mackerel, salmon, and other wild-caught fish
In New York in 2007, an experiment was conducted that showed that the inclusion of these foods in the diet of drug addicts improves the clinical picture by reducing inflammation. In 2013, a study in healthy people also demonstrated the effectiveness of a diet enriched with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for the prevention of psycho-emotional disorders.
4. Healthy Tea
L-theanine found in tea is a compound that has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Back in 1999, a study was conducted in Japan that showed that L-theanine acts on GABA receptors and induces some changes in brain waves leading to relaxation.
If you drink sugary coffee, your blood sugar goes off scale, stimulating the production of stress hormones. Therefore, we advise you to replace this drink with:
- Chamomile tea
- Green tea
Studies show that all of these varieties have soothing properties.
5. Bone Broth
If you have frequent dyspepsia (constipation or diarrhea), you have probably already noticed the association of exacerbations with periods of depression and anxiety. To improve the health of your intestinal microflora, use a proven product – boil bone broth.
It will not only help relieve gut inflammation and improve the health of the microbiome (a complex of microorganisms that live in the gut), but it will also have a beneficial effect on your mental state. After all, this simple dish contains a lot of glycines. According to observational data, not yet confirmed by scientific research, this amino acid has a calming effect.
6. Pumpkin Seeds And Other Sources Of Zinc
Zinc plays an important role in optimizing the functioning of the immune and nervous systems. In 2011, American scientists proved that people prone to anxiety disorders have significantly lower plasma zinc levels and higher copper levels.
Stress and anxiety tend to deplete zinc stores. Therefore, we advise you to add to your diet:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame or tahini seeds
7. Cobalamin Or Vitamin B12
It is another nutrient that can help calm the psyche. British scientists found that it plays a large role in methylation processes, the synthesis of neurotransmitters, and nerve functions. A deficiency of vitamin B12 for the brain gives rise to pathologies of the nervous system and psycho-emotional disorders.
For vegetarians, B12 deficiency is a common problem as it comes from animal products:
- Beef liver
- Natural dairy products
Therefore, if a person is a vegan or vegetarian, they should consult a doctor about the use of dietary supplements with cobalamin.
8. Leafy Greens And Vegetables
Our bodies use magnesium to provide over 300 different biochemical reactions, including the release of neurotransmitters (transmitters of nerve impulses) and nerve functions. In 2011, Australian scientists proved that magnesium deficiency causes excessive anxiety and other psycho-emotional disorders.
For the prevention of nervous disorders, eat more:
- Greene vegetables
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
9. Oat Bran
Bananas aren’t the only foods that contain tryptophan (a precursor to serotonin and melatonin). Oats are another valuable source. Plus, it has the added benefits of a variety of vitamins and a lot of fiber.
Be sure to add healthy fats and proteins to your serving of oatmeal to further stabilize your blood sugar by adding:
- Chopped almonds
- Chia oil or seeds
10. Coconut And Ghee
Our brain consists of neurons, the myelin sheaths of which are 75% lipids and only 25% proteins. Therefore, the brain and nerves need the intake of fat from the diet. Research by American scientists shows that coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides that improve brain function. Later, they also found that ghee has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial for cognitive function thanks to butyrate (a short-chain butyric acid salt).
We mentioned some foods that can restore your mental health. As we discussed above, fats can also help stabilize blood sugar levels, regulate mood and appetite. Therefore, our body must receive quality fats with every meal. Test drive this preventive nutrition for a couple of weeks, and you will see that your anxiety will decrease markedly, and your depression will subside.