3 MIN READ | Health Psychology

Are You Eating the Right Meal for Your Mental Health? – Five Mental Health Foods

Onah Caleb

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Onah Caleb, (2020, June 18). Are You Eating the Right Meal for Your Mental Health? – Five Mental Health Foods. Psychreg on Health Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/mental-health-foods/
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Eating the right food is quite easy and affordable if you really know what you want. One simple way to achieve this is to eat a wider range food, the way they grow from the farmland and vineyard – such as nuts, vegetables, fruits, and other natural herbs in their original forms.

A research published in 2019 offers one of the most up-to-date snapshots of mental health and diet: how diet might play a role in depression. The result revealed that eating the right food often leads to reduced signs of depression and insomnia, less hopelessness and disentanglement from others.

Dr Joseph Firth, the lead author and research fellow at Western Sydney University, said: ‘Including more non-processed foods, more whole foods, and vegetables are very helpful in requisites of your psychosomatic well-being, and mainly mood.’

Earlier studies on Mediterranean foods showed it contributes to the decrease of feelings in hopelessness and depressive symptoms.

Five foods to improve mental health

  • Chicken. Chicken and turkey alike is a delicious lean-protein choice containing the amino acid tryptophan. It does help your body produce the mood fighter hormones serotonin; fights depression and help enhance strong memory recall. Many meat-eaters only tend to gobble down this bird over the festive season, but the reality is that turkey is one of the best good mood foods you can consume. Turkey is also low in fat and very high in protein, which means it’s very high in the tryptophan and, consequently, the feel-good chemical serotonin can also be derived from it, which can make you feel optimised. 
  • Grains. Foods like beans, soy, oats, and wild rice fall here. We frequently consume simple crabs, which lead to blood sugar spikes while your body and brain exploit carbohydrates for energy as well all know it is an energy giving food. Also, foods classified as whole grains contain glucose being produced more slowly, as a more even and consistent source of energy from the compound carbohydrates in our food.

Whole grains help the brain absorb tryptophan, which means that when eaten in conjunction with foods like chicken and turkey, you can further reduce symptoms of mental illness of depression and anxiety while boosting brain function.

  • Mushrooms: Commonly found around the world is helpful for lowering blood sugar level; they are two good reasons why mushrooms are good for your mental health. There are specific good reasons why this is very essential to mental health primarily, firstly insulin is opposed by their chemical properties, to boost your mood. Just like probiotic in that they promote healthy gut microbes. And since the nerve cells in our gut produce 75–90% of our body’s serotonin — the critical neurotransmitter that keeps us sane.
  • Salmon. This pink fish is rich in Omega-3 and anti-inflammatory fatty acids like EPA and DHA, which are healthy fats that are important. We must consume them because our body cannot create them on its own. These fatty acids are important because they help with our brain cell membrane. Salmon also fights inflammation, and increased inflammation in the body could play a role in depression, according to studies. Likewise, Salmon is also a source of vitamin D, which is known to help ease depression too. On top of that, this vitamin is important for strong bones and teeth, and healthy muscles.
  • Sweet potatoes. This is common around Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, and North America; sweet potatoes are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene. Nutritionist says that sweet potatoes can facilitate in reducing harm of cells in the brain which certainly impact mental health in negative ways. It can also be beneficial in reducing the oxidative pressure, and stress on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which has been linked with depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for a clear path to better long-term health, your first step could be eating more fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Over the past few decades, researchers have found compelling evidence that people who eat fruits and vegetables have fewer symptoms of depression, stress, and overall negativity.

Those who eat the most vegetables, fruits and other fresh foods are generally happier, feel more satisfied with their mental health, and feel more motivated with their lives than those who eat fewer or none. 

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Image credit: Freepik


Onah Caleb is a a research assistant in Benue State University (Nigeria). He runs the blog KaylebsThought.

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