Eat Your Way to Better Mental Health

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How nutrition can benefit your mental health

 

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Our country has a long history of touting the health benefits of this food and that food, going all the way back to the Victorians with their cornflake diets at the Kellogg hospital. While most of these fads have little to no scientific evidence to back them up, the data is clear that a healthy balanced diet promotes a healthy body and mind. Poor nutrition is correlated with poor cognitive performance and can even lead to Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Tackle your health by letting food be your medicine.

 

Nutritional Psychiatry

 

Your brain needs premium fuel to run well. Like a fussy high-performance vehicle, it may stutter and rattle if you’re not giving it what it needs. The brain wants omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in cold-water fish, and healthy fats, which are found in nuts and seeds. It needs micronutrients from fresh leafy green veggies and fruits. What it doesn’t want is inflammation-causing processed carbohydrates and processed sugars, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Improving your diet will help control your weight while correcting metabolic processes and improving physical and mental performance in your everyday life. Studies have shown that a healthy diet improves neurological performance and staves off neurological deterioration.

 

The Mind-Body Connection

 

Exercise works to improve cognitive functioning by boosting immune response and lowering blood pressure. It causes a release of mood-enhancing endorphins and neurotransmitters, rewiring the brain along healthier lines and proffering a natural high. For people struggling through the process of recovery, exercise can even stave off relapse and help people to deal with withdrawal. However, the body and mind are connected in even more subtle ways. Microbial life in your digestive system may have a big influence on the development and performance of your brain. There is some evidence to indicate psychiatric problems could originate in unhealthy gut flora thrown out of whack by illness or addiction. Rejuvenating these with healthy probiotics can give some people relief from certain psychiatric symptoms.

 

Prioritize Yourself Through Your Health

 

Making the time and effort to cultivate a healthy lifestyle is part of a good self-care regimen. Along with getting enough rest, eating a healthy balanced diet and getting regular physical exercise will help you cope with stress and better manage crises. It’s part of the process of building up your emotional and physical energy reserves so you can live a better life. When someone has struggled through illness or addiction, they may have neglected their health. They’ve rewired their brain along unhealthy lines and created behavioral patterns that can spell disaster or even death. They may have also damaged their self-esteem and gone into an unproductive downward spiral of negative thinking. They have to learn to love themselves again and to put their own needs first in their lives. By doing this, they can begin to break the cycle of negativity and neglect and begin making their way out of the darkness.

 

Many people struggle with their weight, their health, and their emotional and mental well-being. Part of addressing those problems is starting at the root source. Americans are frequently overweight and undernourished, with particular deficiencies in vitamins and micronutrients, which lead to illness and depression. Combating these issues means putting a focus on wholesome food in our diets and cutting out unhealthy empty calories. Eliminating sugars and processed foods is a start, but it requires a bigger commitment than just dumping the junk food. You need to bring in healthy foods, in the right quantities, to address your own nutritional deficiencies. Consider consulting a professional nutritionist. Feed your body what it needs, and it will reward you with high performance in the form of good, healthy functioning.

 

Guest post by Jackie Cortez

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