At the risk of sounding like your mother, I am going to say it... You are what you eat! The age-old saying has a lot of truth to it. No, you are not going to win the soccer game if you eat a bowl of frosted flakes for breakfast. In fact, I would highly recommend against it.
The food that you put into your body has a huge effect on your mental health. The brain-gut connection is a powerful one. The gut has over 100 million nerve endings, so an unhappy gut can mean an unhappy mind. Also, about 95% of serotonin is made in the gut!
Eating a healthy diet can do wonders for your mental health. A happy gut does indeed mean a happy mind. So, what can you do to make the most of this connection to improve your mental health?
Eating a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables is going to help improve your digestion dramatically. Eating lots of whole plant foods has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and stress. Eating lots of different fruits and vegetables is like taking SSRI without all the side effects!
There is so much variety to choose from, so find your favorite recipes and eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can. Not sure what you like? Do a quick google search for easy, delicious recipes and you are bound to find something that you love!
Switching to organic foods will have a massive impact on your mental health for a variety of reasons. Non-organic foods are highly modified and sprayed with lots of harmful chemicals.
Genetically modifying foods strips them of some of the most important nutrients and anti-oxidants. These super-nutrients have the power to help heal your body, and in turn, make your mind feel better!
The chemicals that are sprayed on non-organic foods are also having a negative effect on your mental health. These compounds disrupt your body's natural system and wreak havoc on your hormones. Hormones play a huge role in mental health, and imbalances are often a key factor in depression and anxiety symptoms.
Keeping your hormones balanced is important when trying to improve your mental health. Eating organic is a great first step in improving your hormonal and mental health.
There are few things worst for your mental health than processed foods. Unfortunately, these foods are often a go-to when feeling down because they cause a momentary boost in serotonin. However, once that initial reaction is gone, which happens very quickly, you will be left feeling worst than before.
The key here is delayed gratification. Next time you feel your symptoms creeping up on you and you are eager to reach for a bag of candy or pizza, try grabbing a piece of fruit, or my personal favorite healthy snack alternative– The Perfect Bar (This is not an ad, they just taste really good and are really good for you!).
I promise you are going to end up feeling better if you reach for a healthy snack instead of processed junk food. Always try to eat whole foods without lots of sugar, processed corn, and chemical dyes. This alone has the potential to greatly reduce your symptoms.
Eating sugar and caffeine are two of the worst things that you can do if you struggle with your mental health. Often, when struggling with symptoms of depression or anxiety, it is intriguing to reach for a pick-me-up. But, it is doing more harm than good.
Though caffeine and sugar will give you a temporary serotonin boost, extended use will inhibit your body from working optimally and ultimately worsen your symptoms.
If you are a regular coffee drinker, start by switching to green tea. It has lots of amazing health-boosting effects and is going to be much better for your symptoms than a cup of coffee. Eventually, you can switch to decaffeinated tea and save the coffee and caffeinated tea for special occasions.
Sugar is a hard one to quit, but I promise you are going to see drastic improvements in your mental health by ditching the habit! Try it for two weeks, and I promise you won't want to go back! If you struggle with a sweet tooth, try some natural alternatives– fruit, dates, and banana nice cream are great ways to satisfy your cravings.
The whole purpose of changing your diet is so that you feel better. Beating yourself up over eating something that didn't make you feel the best is only going to make you feel worst.
Stay focused on being kind to your body so that your mind feels great! Don't try to make a full 360 right away. Just start integrating some of these habits slowly and be aware of how you feel.
Poor eating habits are often a result of the inability to soothe one's emotions. Next time you are feeling anxious or depressed, try meditating or getting outside for a walk before reaching for the tub of ice cream. Once you experience how much better you feel from taking care of your body, your habits and mental health will only keep improving!
You are AMAZING! You are not alone in your struggles and you have the power to turn your life around. I believe in you. I am sending you all the strength and love that you need and deserve. Now go have a wonderful day living your best life!!!