It’s at a point where it’s almost overwhelming how many modern solutions there are to improve mental health: meditation apps, online support groups, and websites that connect you with mental health experts instantly. The fact that these are so widely available and that mental health is becoming an open topic of discussion is a beautiful and wonderful thing.
Education on how the foods we eat play a part in our mental well-being is becoming more well-known and researched. Also a beautiful and wonderful thing.
If you feel like you might be struggling with anxiety, depression, or even feeling blue, then speak to a professional because you deserve all the resources available to you to feel well.
That being said, we wanted to remind you of these fantastic five foods that have been shown to help your mental well-being and keep us all feeling a bit brighter during these colder and darker seasons.
Fermented foods are getting a ton of love in the media and rightly so. It turns out our guts are a complex and sensitive organ that can affect our mood and mental state. That means yogurt, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha. Probiotic supplements are another option if getting enough fermented foods every day feels like an unnecessary challenge.
We can stop telling you to eat your greens, right? Eating dark leafy greens every day is necessary for good health, period. Not only are dark leafy greens like spinach or broccoli good for your skin, hair, and nails, your immune system, and your bones but for your brain and mental state as well.
Dark leafy greens are also high in folic acid which is important because a deficiency can lead to insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and even hearing loss.
Make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs, salmon, and flax seeds/oil are all great sources of this important fatty acid. Scientists now believe that a deficiency in omega-3’s can worsen or even help cause depression.
If you’re vegan, you can still get your fill of omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, tofu, and cauliflower.
During the colder months when our bodies are getting less sunlight, we tend to have lower levels of serotonin, the mood-boosting chemical that regulates hunger cravings and our overall feelings of well-being. A vitamin D supplement has shown to be an effective way of supporting those dealing with depression or anxiety. If you’re looking for vitamin D- rich foods, stock up on fortified non-dairy milk, salmon, eggs, or fortified foods like cereal or tofu.
There is an argument out there that many of the people who are gluten-intolerant (not celiac) aren’t averse to all grains but to today’s modern manipulation of grains (refined grains). If you are gluten-sensitive, talk to your health professional first before giving whole grain breads or pastries a try. For those of us without sensitivities, whole grains foods have been shown to decrease the rate of depression among older women. Plus whole grains have been shown to potentially lower our risk of heart disease and stroke.
Looking for more foods to help improve your mental health and overall well-being? Read our post on CBD Oil next!