It is well-known that what we eat affects our overall health, but did you know it can also have an impact on our emotional wellbeing? Eating healthy foods can have a significant impact on your mood, energy, and mental health.
Benefits of Eating Healthy
Eating healthy can do more than just keep your waistline in check. Here are a few of the mental benefits of nourishing yourself with healthy foods:
- Increased energy levels – What you eat affects your energy levels. Eating mostly processed foods high in carbohydrates can give you a quick spike in energy but leave you feeling sluggish later. Eating a balanced diet of whole foods will give you sustainable energy throughout the day.
- Improved focus – Eating healthy, Omega-3 rich foods can help your brain synthesize new information more quickly and help you stay alert. Foods like eggs, salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed are great sources of Omega-3.
- Reduced mood swings – Eating a balanced diet can help keep your hormones in balance, which can reduce mood swings. Eating a healthy mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats can keep your insulin levels stable, which can keep you feeling steady throughout the day.
- Better sleep – Eating a balanced diet including foods high in magnesium, such as spinach, avocado, and nuts, can help improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.
Foods to Include in a Healthy Diet
There are several simple ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet. Here are some of the best:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables – These nutrient-dense powerhouses are essential for providing your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help your mind and body stay in balance.
- Limit processed foods – Read labels and make sure you’re not eating too many added sugars, flavourings, or preservatives. These unhealthy ingredients can often lead to energy slumps, mood swings, and sugar cravings.
- Drink plenty of water – Drinking ample amounts of water can help keep your energy up, reduce bloating, and even improve your cognitive function.
- Incorporate healthy fats – Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds can help improve brain and heart health and can even help with weight management.
Eating a balanced, healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only can it help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, but it can also have positive impacts on your mood, energy levels, and focus. Start incorporating more nutrient-dense foods into your daily diet and start feeling the benefits.
What are some specific foods that can help improve mood?
1. Salmon and other fatty fish – Omega-3 fatty acids can help boost serotonin and dopamine, both of which are neurotransmitters that help regulate mood.
2. Bananas – The high levels of potassium and Vitamin B6 can help reduce stress and anxiety.
3. Whole grains and oats – Complex carbohydrates can help regulate serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.
4. Dark Chocolate – It contains an antioxidant called flavonols that can help improve blood flow and reduce stress hormones.
5. Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are rich in Vitamin B, which helps the body produce serotonin and can improve overall mood.
6. Yogurt – The probiotics in yogurt may help reduce inflammation, which can help lift your mood.
7. Berries – Blueberries, raspberries and other berries are rich in antioxidants that can help reduce stress and improve mood.
8. Nuts and seeds – Cashews, walnuts and other nuts are rich in healthy fats, getting a healthy fat intake can help improve overall mood.
9. Eggs – The protein found in eggs are helpful for creating neurotransmitters, which can help regulate mood.
10. Turmeric – Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which helps reduce inflammation and decrease anxiety and depression.
What foods can help with stress and anxiety?
1. Oats: Oats contain B vitamins, which can help to reduce stress by helping to regulate neurotransmitters in the brain.
2. Yogurt: Yogurt contains probiotics, which have been found to have an anti-anxiety effect.
3. Berries: Berries are high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the production of stress hormones.
4. Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve mood.
5. Walnuts: Walnuts contain tryptophan, which can help the body produce serotonin and improve mood.
6. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which may help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
7. Chamomile Tea: Chamomile can have a calming, relaxing effect and may help to reduce stress and anxiety.
8. Avocado: Avocado is rich in healthy fats, which can have a calming effect.
9. Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, which may help to reduce inflammation, improve mood and reduce stress.
10. Green Leafy Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach and other dark green vegetables are rich in magnesium, which can help to regulate stress hormones.