Nutrition Tips to Support Your Mental Health

July 19, 2022

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Nutrition is usually talked about in relation to your physical fitness and appearance. People tend to only think about food and change their eating habits when they are interested in some sort of weight loss or weight gain. However, food is much more than that. Food can impact your sleep, the way you feel, and your energy levels. These are much more important reasons why you should be focusing on your food. 

The majority of diets nowadays are heavily made up of processed foods and are therefore, inadequate. This is because they are filled with chemicals and sugars that are highly addictive. Eating a diet that is reliant on processed food can severely impact your physical and mental health. Processed food can cause inflammation in your body which can lead to, or exacerbate a range of mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. This is because highly processed food can stimulate the centers of dopamine in your brain, which is known for pleasure and reward. Consuming these foods can also change the physiology of your brain, which can then start a vicious loop. When you are in a low mood or struggling with energy, you are more likely to pick up a snack, such as a coffee rather than a complete, nutritious meal which makes it a hard habit to break.

It is therefore important that you focus on the right nutrition to help you boost your energy levels and support your mental health. Here are some top tips to help you get started. 

#1 Include a variety of fruits and vegetables 

You may have always been told to eat your greens, but there is a good reason for it. Consuming fruits and vegetables are excellent brain foods. They contain a variety of important minerals, vitamins, carotenoids, and flavonoids that can reduce stress and inflammation in the body. You should ensure that your diet consists of a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Each one is filled with important nutrients that your body needs for energy and to function properly, for example, iron, magnesium, and a range of vitamins such as D, B12, and B6. If you cannot eat a variety of vegetables, for example, because you have any dietary requirements, you should seek supplements such as ionic zinc to ensure the body is not deficient. Any deficiencies can hinder your mental health. 

#2 Eat mindfully 

Life can be extremely busy, which in turn, can lead to many unconscious decisions being made around eating. Mindful eating is a great way to turn this around and make sure you are fueling your body with the right food and snacks. To do this, you should slow down when you eat your meals, make sure you are not distracted, and pay attention to how the food you are eating makes you feel. Avoid using your phone or sitting in front of the television and instead, eat upright at a table where you can be more relaxed. It can also be beneficial to create a food journal, so you can track what you are eating when you are eating it, and what emotions you are experiencing. This can provide you with a great insight into your eating habits and behaviors, which is the first big step to making changes. For example, you might find that you are reaching for junk food when you are stressed. If you are hungry, you may switch this out for a proper meal, or if you find you are just eating for the sake of it, you might choose to find a new coping mechanism to help you deal with stress more healthily. 

#3 Make your meals

When you make your meals at home, you have more control over what you are eating. When you purchase something from the shop, you have no idea what is in it or what conditions it has been made in. You can check the ingredients, but when it comes to processed foods, you are more than likely going to see a long list of ingredients that you have never heard of. 

To help you make your meals, you should make a plan each week. Fill it with your favorite foods, and lots of fruit and vegetables. You can then separate this into a food shopping list. This will help you shop for the items that you need to make the meals, and ensure you have enough food for the week. It can also help you avoid buying processed food to snack on. 

Nutrition plays a huge role in your mental health and wellbeing. Follow these top tips to help you support how you feel. 

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