How Does Your Diet Affect Your Mental Health?

There is no simple solution when it comes to managing your mental health and if you want to avoid problems like depression and anxiety, you need to change lots of different aspects of your lifestyle and make good choices on a daily basis. But one area where people fail to make changes is their diet. What you eat and drink has a big impact on your mental health but a lot of people don’t realise just how important it is. Eating the right foods and avoiding certain things can help you to maintain good mental health, so you need to think about your diet. Here’s how you could adapt your diet to improve mental health.

Eat The Right Carbohydrates

Some carbohydrates have been linked to serotonin production which has a big impact on your mood. Serotonin is often called the happiness hormone and low levels in the brain are linked to feelings of depression and anxiety. Cravings for carbohydrates could also be linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain, and if you eat carbohydrate rich foods, it could help to improve your mood. However, you need to be careful about the foods that you choose and only eat complex carbs. These are the healthier carbs that you find in foods like whole grains or fruits and vegetables. Simple carbs from snack foods will not have the same impact and some of the other ingredients in there could have a negative impact on your mental health.

Avoid Sugar

Comfort eating is quite common among people that have mental health issues, but it could be making things a lot worse, especially if you’re eating sugary foods. When you eat sugar, you will experience an initial sugar rush. But when that wears off, you will start to feel low and very tired, which is only going to make your low feelings a lot worse. That’s why it’s a good idea to avoid any foods that have high sugar content and try to get your sugar from natural sources like fruits.

Look After Your Gut Health

Researchers have been doing a lot of work on gut health recently, specifically the link to mental health. It is believed that your gut has a big impact on your overall physical and mental health and if the bacteria in your gut is out of balance, it can contribute to mental health issues. Stress and anxiety can also have a negative impact on your gut health, which can cause a bit of a vicious cycle. But if you adjust your diet to improve your gut health, it could make a big difference to your mental health as well.

If you are having digestive issues, you may have an issue with the enzymes responsible for breaking down your food. You can get some great supplements to help boost the levels of these enzymes so you can improve your digestion and your overall gut health. You should also try to incorporate more foods that contain probiotics into your diet. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that you need in your gut, and they can be damaged by certain processed foods. Eating fermented foods like yoghurt or sourdough bread can help you to replenish the good bacteria and look after your gut health.

CBD Supplements

CBD is one of the latest developments in mental health treatment and a lot of people are using it to manage anxiety and depression. If you get some CBD oil, you can easily take it as a supplement or even put it into your food if you don’t want to take it directly. When people take CBD, they report a strong calming effect, both physical and mental, and it really helps to avoid anxieties. It might not be effective for everybody but it’s worth a try if you are struggling to manage your mental health effectively.

Cut Back On Alcohol

Using alcohol to self medicate is very common in people with mental health issues but it’s not a healthy coping mechanism. When people are feeling stressed or anxious, they may reach for a drink because it relaxes them and relieves those feelings of anxiety in the short term. However, alcohol has been shown to increase depression and anxiety in the long term, especially if you are consuming a lot. If you are using alcohol as a way to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, there is also the danger that you will become dependent on it and your mental health issues will get a lot worse as a result. You don’t have to give up alcohol completely, but you do need to be careful and make sure that you are using it for the right reasons, not relying on it to make yourself feel better.

Your diet makes such a big difference to your mental health so make sure that you think about what you eat and drink.


Image Credits: Jan Sedivy

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