How What You Eat Impacts Your Mental Health

There is research that suggests that what we eat may not only affect our physical health but can have an impact on our mental health as well. We tend to separate the brain from the rest of our bodies, but we should look at good health from a holistic approach and treat and treat our entire body well.

The Science

The connection between diet and mental health comes from what is known as “second brain,” the connection between your brain and your gastrointestinal tract. Your GI tract is the home to billions of bacteria that have an influence on the production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances that carry messages from the gut to the brain. Dopamine is an example of a neurotransmitter.

When you eat healthy food, you encourage the production of good bacteria in your gut. This good bacteria positively affects the production of neurotransmitters. If you only eat junk food, then you will suffer from inflammation, which will have a negative effect on the production of neurotransmitters. Your emotions will reflect this negativity. Sugar is a major culprit. If you stick to a diet of healthy food, you can reduce the incidence of depression and anxiety and eliminate mood fluctuations.

What to Eat

The next time you go to the grocery store, you should aim for a mix of different types of foods for better health. Look for whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. Try to eat food that is minimally processed as preservatives and dyes can worsen feelings of depression. Plant-based foods that are full of fiber can help your body better absorb glucose to help you avoid sugar rushes and crashes. Foods that are high in vitamin D, such as mushrooms, can help with the production of serotonin in the body. Magnesium is also vital to the food and mood connection. It can be found in foods such as dark leafy greens, almonds, and cashews. Fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, and kombucha are packed with probiotics that can help the production of good bacteria in your gut.

Incorporating good foods into your daily life may take some extra effort at first, but the results in your physical and mental health make it worth it. Start by incorporating vegetables a few days a week and move on from there. Make small healthy food swaps like brown rice instead of white rice. Be mindful of the foods entering your body, and you may feel a positive change in your mental health.

If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.

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