Eating right and staying active is a crucial part of maintaining one’s physical health, but what foods are good for your mental health? As of 2017, 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression and 250 million suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Some people seek assistance from clinical professionals to help them overcome their mental health disorders, while others may look for support through friends and family. However, research has shown that eating nutritious foods and participating in regular exercise can relieve stress and build up your confidence.
Munchies and Mental Health: what foods are good for mental health?
According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly two-thirds of people who regularly ate fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, salads or fruit juice reported experiencing no mental health problems. Individuals who struggled with a mental illness were found the eat more unhealthy foods, such as chocolate, potato chips, and take-out meals. Based on the study, it was discovered that a stable and steady mood can be affected by the amounts of carbohydrates, amino acids, minerals and water that a person consumes.
With these facts in mind, it could be beneficial to your mental health to try and eat foods that are not high in sugar in order to avoid energy levels crashing after a brief elevation. Because high-sugar foods are rapidly absorbed into a person’s bloodstream, individuals can become very tired after that initial rush of energy. However, fruit and vegetables can be more filling and are lower in sugar, which means that they are absorbed into the body slower, which helps keep a person’s mood consistent and can alleviate feelings of depression.
Since so much food is processed and artificially sweetened, the people who eat them are not getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. In order to stay physically and mentally healthy, a person’s diet should include vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium, omega 3, vitamin B and vitamin D3. These nutrients can help relieve anxiety, improve a person’s mood and reduce the severity of a person’s depression.
Working Out While Working On Your Mind
Along with eating right, keeping up with physical activity can help improve a person’s life mentality as well. When people hear the word“exercise,” they can be quick to assume that a regularly structured program is what is necessary. In this case, any kind of physical activity can make a difference to a person’s mental state. Exercising releases feel-good endorphins that can better a person’s mood. The chemicals that are generated from being active can help build up a person’s self-esteem and improve their self-image. When a person begins to feel good about themselves, their self-worth escalates, thus alleviating depressive feelings.
Staying physically active can also reduce feelings of stress. When a person exercises, norepinephrine, a chemical that can stabilize a brain and body’s reaction to stress, forms. Norepinephrine allows a person to calm down before they experience an anxiety attack. Being active also gives a person the opportunity to interact with others in their community, which can be helpful when working on overcoming depression. A small wave or a short conversation with a neighbor can go a long way for someone feeling alone and lost.
Exercising and performing physical activities can also help individuals working to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Working out can distract the mind from its cravings for the desired substance, helping the brain re-prioritize its needs. In more depth, exercising also helps those struggling with an alcohol addiction to rebuild their internal clock. When a person is addicted to alcohol, it interferes with their circadian rhythm. Therefore, working out helps a person get back on a normal sleep schedule.
Other Ways To Help With Your Wellness
Keeping on top of your physical health is a key factor in obtaining a healthy mental state, but there are some other tips that can help keep your mental health in good shape. The Recovery Village found that along with staying in shape and eating healthy, there are other wellness strategies that can be taken simultaneously to help improve a person’s mental health.
● Sleeping enough: Along with being important for your body, it’s also very important for your mind to get an adequate amount of rest,daily. Sleeping enough can help reduce stress, reduce fatigue, help maintain a healthy amount of weight and improve a person’s attention span.
● Joining a hobby group: This can be for people who have found that they enjoy working out, or for those who feel they enjoy more simple things, like art, to help reduce their stressors. This gives a person an opportunity to not just advance a skill, but help them make friends as well.
● Volunteer work: While it may not necessarily be exercising, volunteering at your local animal shelter, homeless shelter or even TalkLife can give the same kinds of feel-good endorphins that working out can provide. While all of these suggestions can be beneficial for a person looking to better their mental health, there are other forms of assistance than can be offered. For a person who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it may be better for them to attend a treatment facility to receive individualized care. Other people may find that regularly going to see a therapist to help manage their mental illness is a better use of time. Each person is different, so what’s best for one person may not work as well for someone else. While you work to better yourself mentally, remember that bettering yourself physically offers its own rewards as well.