Foods that Love You Back — Eat to Boost Your Mental Health

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A healthy diet is a cornerstone of your health. Eating well helps your internal organs like your heart, lungs, and kidneys stay in tiptop shape, allows you to maintain a healthy weight and encourages healthy growth and reproduction of cells. A well-balanced diet also affects your state of mind.

Researchers have studied the impact of nutrition (how nutrients and other substances in food affect the body) on your physical and mental health. The science is clear: Healthy eating habits are good for the body, mind and spirit.

Boost Your Mood by Eating Regularly

Skipping a meal or not eating enough can cause your blood sugar levels to dip. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a dangerous condition that impacts your body and mood. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Sudden mood changes

Low blood sugar also causes serious physical symptoms including blurry vision, rapid heartbeat, headache and dizziness.

Make a plan to eat regularly. Try to schedule meals and snacks for roughly the same time each day. If you feel your blood sugar dropping, grab a small snack that’s high in simple carbohydrates to give your body a boost of glucose while you prepare a healthy meal. Try a piece of fruit, crackers or peanut butter.

Choose the Right Foods

The foods you eat can support your mental health, along with your physical health. Researchers say these foods have the best impact on your state of mind:

Protein

Foods high in protein, such as eggs, poultry or low-fat Greek yogurt, encourage the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. These “feel-good” chemicals can give improve your mood and give you a boost of energy that lasts for hours after eating.

Fiber

Fiber helps your body absorb sugar at a slower, healthier pace to avoid a sugar rush — and subsequent crash. Fiber also increases serotonin to help decrease mood swings. Add foods like oats, beans, pears and whole grains to get the fiber your body and mind need.

Vitamins

Vitamins do more than build strong muscles, bones and bodies. They can improve our state of mind. Studies show that certain vitamins play an important role in boosting our mood, including:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can help manage mood disorders, including seasonal affective disorders. Boost your daily vitamin D intake with:

  • Regular (safe) exposure to sun
  • Multivitamin with vitamin D
  • Foods like low-fat milk, egg yolks and soymilk

Folate and B-12

These vitamins can reduce depressive episodes. Broccoli, oatmeal and oranges are good sources of folate. Cottage cheese, lean beef and salmon are healthy sources of vitamin B-12.

Rethink Your Nutrition

The food and drinks we consume have the power to impact our whole health in both positive and negative ways. Make some healthy changes in your diet, and you’ll quickly see the impact it has on you physically and mentally.

And remember, we’re always here to support you in the quest to live your best life. Learn more about our nutrition and wellness services.

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