Self-care is the best care, or so they say!
The human body is more receptive of natural substances. Although many of us have forgotten it, we are indeed a significant part of Mother Nature. We may have distanced ourselves from natural means, there’s no denying that nature is our mother and that it sustains us, like other living beings.
If you are stressed, suffering from chronic anxiety or feeling depressed, popping pills may not be the only option. Yes, they will give you some form of temporary relief, but going natural is the healthiest way to combat mental health issues. And no, this is not some therapy propagated by the environmentalists, but a fact.
So, what is a mental health diet?
It is a healthy diet consisting of those foods that help strengthen our nervous system, cognitive abilities, memory, concentration, and attentiveness, as well as enhance clarity. It also replenishes all the essential nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbs that your body needs for day-to-day activities. As a healthy nervous system is the biggest roadblock for mental health issues, following the diet can help you lead a stress-free life.
Don’t you believe it?
Well, researchers have time and again proved that increased consumption of processed food directly hits our body’s ability to function. They have also revealed that deep-fried, high-calorie foods tend to increase anxiety and depressive symptoms. Hence, it is needless to say that cutting down processed foods from your diet will invariably improve your mental health. And what’s better than to replace them with healthy, natural foods?
Enough of the introductory message! Let us now give you a list of foods that can keep mental health issues at bay.
Oily fish like Salmon, Prawns and Trout
Not all oils are French fries oil!
Fish oil is considered quite useful for your brain. Are you wondering why? Well, it’s because of the DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid that is present in large amounts in fatty fishes like Salmon, Trout, Prawn, etc. It directly works on your memory and focus, thus improving clarity. An omega-3 fatty acid diet also helps reduce stress and anxiety to a great extent.
Yoghurt and depression
Do you wish to reduce your carb cravings? Take a small bowl of yoghurt after your meal and eat slowly, relishing every mouthful. Health practitioners opine that it is healthy for the digestive system, but thanks to brain-gut connection, yoghurt helps reduce anxiety, depression and stress levels as well.
Handful of walnuts
Crunchy and tasty as they are, the walnuts can serve as a snack, at least better than those fried foods. They are packed with antioxidants that prevent damages caused by free radicals in the body. The walnuts also help in the growth of new brain cells, which ensures balanced mental health.
Following a healthy diet doesn’t mean staying hungry. You need the energy to perform regular activities, and there should be no compromise on that. Starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, millets, and beet, are not only tasty but also provide sufficient energy to the body. The more energised you feel, the better you can tackle mental health issues. You may also include brown rice in your diet to reduce cravings for sugared foods. Yes, you guessed it right. Consuming excess sugar leads to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Beans and more beans
Your salads are incomplete without them and your life too. You may even stay single for the rest of your life but will die without beans in your diet. It is not only because they are mouth-wateringly delicious but also are loaded with antioxidants, fibre, and the essential vitamin B1.
Also known as Thiamine, vitamin B1 stimulates the production of Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that enhances memory. As a handful of beans can keep your blood glucose levels down, it invariably reduces depression and anxiety.
Now that you have a more-or-less idea about the foods to include in your diet, let us tell you what you should avoid, to keep mental health problems at bay:
- Alcohol - It leads to a manifold increase of emotions, negative or positive, thus aggravating mental health issues.
- Refined cereals - Fatty and processed, they need to be avoided to prevent a hormonal imbalance in the body.
- Doughnuts - Too much sugar; enough to burst your pancreas!
- Sugared drinks - Again, there’s no use raising the blood glucose levels. It only increases your problems.
- Diet soda - Do not fall for the labels. They are equally harmful to the mind.
Work out regularly, take brisk walks amidst nature, take occasional vacations, and give yourself a break from social media to preserve your mental health. Too much involvement in the digital sphere may hamper your mental health in a way you don’t know. In other words, enjoy your life the way it is!