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Monday, June 5, 2017

9 Eating Habits for Better Mental Health

More and more research is finding a link between food and your mood. In fact, studies even note that an unhealthy diet can lead to greater anxiety and depression. Rachel Kelly, author of The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food, and nutritional therapist Alice Macintosh, joined forces and took the concept of eating for your mood even further. They worked to devise a list of “golden rules” or dietary behaviors to follow for optimal mental health. Here’s a summary of the list, which was published in ABC Health & Wellbeing:
  • Eat mostly plants. Veggies and legumes are loaded with brain-boosting nutrients and fiber.
  • Cook with plenty of herbs and spices. Particularly turmeric and saffron — “the rules aren't called ‘golden’ for nothing,” note the authors.
  • Go nuts: Nuts have been found to help with your mood.
  • Eat for your gut. Many experts refer to the stomach as the "second brain." This is because of the relationship between the brain, central nervous system and "good" bacteria in the gut, which has been linked to mental health.    
  • Become friends with healthy fats: Healthy fats, like omega-3s, have been study-proven to have a positive influence on parts of the brain linked to depression.
  • Pay attention to protein: Focus on good proteins like fish and lean meat and avoid highly processed meat products, which are tied to poor mental health.
  • Say no to sweeteners and additives: Again, the key is to avoid highly processed food.
  • Eat a varied diet. The authors noted that the average diet of our ancestors included about 150 ingredients, where as the average Western diet has around 20.
  • Relax and enjoy. Pretty much every culture relies on food as part of their celebrations — and for good reason. Don't dismiss the health benefits of eating as a social and recreational activity.
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