More Greens for Less Blues

By Valentina Diaz

According to studies, consuming a nutritious diet may benefit mental health. According to research, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while avoiding processed meals and foods high in sugar will help lower the chance of developing depression and anxiety. The nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin D, help the brain function effectively. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that control mood, hunger, and sleep. A balanced diet can lower inflammation in the body, also improving depression as a result. 

Conversely, consuming processed and sugary foods can worsen mental health. While maintaining a nutritious diet might be good for mental health, it is not a replacement for professional therapy. A nutrient-rich diet can aid in regulating mood and enhancing focus because the brain needs a consistent supply of nutrients to operate at its best. For instance, eating foods high in complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help control blood sugar levels, preventing mood swings and enhancing attention. Lean meats, fish, and legumes are meals high in protein that can aid concentration because they contain the amino acids required to make neurotransmitters that control mood and cognitive function. According to Kaiser Permanente, “Many of your body’s activities are controlled by natural chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters carry signals between nerves and other cells to help manage your heartbeat, breathing, emotions, concentration levels, and more. And by eating certain foods, you can help stimulate the production of some neurotransmitters”. Some known neurotransmitters are dopamine, which aids in triggering your sense of pleasure; serotonin, which decreases pain and anxiety, balances mood, and aids in controlling sleep and hunger. 

Eating a healthy diet is an excellent way to keep your mental health in a good state, and it can benefit everyone. According to several studies, adopting a clean diet, which consists of unprocessed, whole foods, helps decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. For instance, a 2017 study in PLOS ONE discovered that participants with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats experienced lower rates of depression and anxiety than those with a diet heavy in processed and sugary foods. A 2015 American Journal of Public Health study discovered that women who followed a diet high in processed and fried foods experienced higher rates of depression than those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet vital in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats. 

Here are some pointers for maintaining a healthy diet: Emphasize wholesome, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. Reduce your intake of processed and sugary foods, which can worsen mental health and cause inflammation. To ensure your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs, eat various meals. Drink a lot of water daily to stay hydrated and consume more probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or kefir to improve gut health. Maintaining a balanced diet is a straightforward but powerful strategy to promote mental health and well-being.


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