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There are new methods becoming available to the public that focus on ways to support mental health both holistically and naturally. Many people are showing more interest in alternative methods to support their mental health. Alternative approaches take a special look at the relationship between the mind, body, and spirit. Holistic approaches to mental health help you consider the importance of your mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical well-being.
While every factor of your mental health is important, your physical health should provide the foundation of your well-being. A body that is not running efficiently can mean that other aspects of your well-being are struggling too. Some healthy practices include:
- Proper nutrition
- Plentiful water consumption
- Physical exercise
- Healthy sleeping habits
- Practicing self-care
- Taking vitamins/supplements as-needed
Eating well helps us feel our best physically. Sometimes we can overlook the fact that a healthy diet can help us function more efficiently mentally and emotionally. When considering an improvement to your diet, you may wonder if there are some foods that will support your mental health more than others.
Foods That Can Have Negative Impact on Mental Health
In today’s world, there is abundant availability of processed food high in sugar and empty carbohydrates. These kinds of food can cause problems in several systems in your body, including inflammation.
Inflammation in your body and brain can have a negative impact on your mental health. This can contribute to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Eating high-calorie and high-fat foods can leave you feeling sluggish. It may even cause weight gain, which can also have an effect on your self-esteem and mental health.
Poor eating habits can become a detrimental cycle. When you are stressed and overwhelmed, you are more likely to grab something that is quick but less nutritious. You might even skip meals altogether.
If you are feeling down, you might turn to easy comfort foods such as ice cream or frozen dinners. Feeling extra stressed or depressed can cause you to overeat or not eat enough. Either of these unhealthy eating habits can contribute to low energy levels and impaired cognitive functions.
Nutrients We Need to Maintain Healthy Mental Functions
Several food-based nutrients are vital to brain function. Since our dietary choices can have such a significant impact on our brain functions, they also have an impact on our mental health.
There are a few key nutrients that we can incorporate into our diets to support brain function. The following are a few crucial elements:
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Polyunsaturated fats play a part in brain structure and function. They may also play a part in regulating inflammation. You can add this nutrient to your diet through nuts, seeds, and an assortment of different fish, such as salmon.
- B vitamins: These vitamins support a variety of cellular and metabolic functions in our bodies, as well as serve a critical role in the production of important brain chemicals. To introduce these vitamins into your diet, you can look to vegetables such as broccoli, leafy greens, and some varieties of beans.
- Amino acids: These nutrients are essential for creating proteins that are essential to the production of brain chemicals that play a part in mood-regulating chemicals. Foods that are high in protein, meat, seafood, eggs, etc., also supply amino acids.
A good rule of thumb is to “eat the rainbow,” as colorful, natural foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals needed to tackle the day and avoid sickness. Integrating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will give you a variety of nutrients you need. Leafy greens and lean proteins are also amazing options for giving your body what it needs.
Healthy Choices for Positive Mental Health
We are all aware that eating a healthy and balanced diet will have positive benefits for our physical health. If we eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables with lean proteins, we are also supporting our mental health. There are several diet plans that can make getting the right nutrients easier. For example, consider the Mediterranean diet because it is full of the nutrients you need.
Being mindful of what you put into your body can mean more than just handpicking certain nutrients. It also means listening to your body’s cues when it comes to food. Pay attention to what you are eating and how often. How do you feel when you eat certain foods? If we are snacking absent-mindedly, we are not likely to be making healthy choices.
Sometimes it can be easier to make healthy changes in our lives if we have a friend or loved one that is making the same changes. If you are making healthier choices together, you can keep each other on the right track. You can even help hold each other accountable. Make sure that you include goals like staying positive and being respectful of each other.
We all become concerned on our mental health at some point in our lives. Whether you are facing some struggles or simply want to fortify your mental health, there are resources out there. Our physical and mental health go hand in hand, so making positive changes to your diet will bring you benefits for both! At Alter Wellness Care, we want to help you explore options for maintaining a positive sense of well-being. Our entire facility is dedicated to promoting positive mental habits. If you are interested in more information on how you can support your mental well-being, call Alter today at (866) 311-3510. We look forward to working with you on your goals.