If you are experiencing mental health struggles in America, you are definitely not alone. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1 in 5 American adults lives with a mental illness, so they are pretty common. Many lifestyle changes can help you stay on top of your mental health, including changing your diet. Indeed, your food choices can offer you specific nutrients that can improve your mental health. Therefore, it is advisable to include more of these foods in your diet for optimal wellness. Here are four foods that boost your mental health.
Fish, in general, is a very healthy food choice, but salmon deserves special attention due to the immense mental health benefits its consumers enjoy. Salmon is a fatty fish with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters, so they can keep your cortisol and adrenaline levels from spiking when you are feeling stressed or tense, reducing your anxiety. Salmon is also rich in Vitamin D, which has been linked to lower rates of depression. Finally, Salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin B12, which aids in producing chemicals that affect mood.
Red meat is quite nutritious; it is an excellent source of iron, zinc, protein, Vitamin B12, and many other essential nutrients. Red meat’s physical health benefits for the heart, bones, and muscles are well-known, but many studies establish a link between its consumption and a reduced incidence of mental health disorders. For instance, a study found that women who ate less red meat than the recommended daily intake were twice as likely to have dysthymia, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder than their counterparts who ate the recommended daily amount. Therefore, feel free to try various types of steaks in your diet, including the premium Japanese wagyu steak known for its moist tenderness and mouth-watering flavor.
- Whole grains
Your brain and body require carbohydrates for energy, but we often consume too many simple carbs, which cause blood sugar spikes. However, whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, which result in the slower production of glucose as a more consistent energy source. Whole grains have been identified as one of the best foods for depression. Also, another recent study revealed that women who consumed average amounts of whole grains were less likely to develop anxiety than their counterparts who consumed fewer whole grains. Consequently, consume foods such as barley, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and popcorn to get your daily fill of whole grains.
- Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate; the darker, the better. It stimulates the production of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good chemicals. Dark chocolate is also an excellent source of tryptophan which is essential in the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter of positive mood. Therefore, consume one to two ounces of dark chocolate daily to manage anxiety and improve symptoms of clinical depression and other mental illnesses. It is prudent to select dark chocolate with 85% cocoa content or more since this is the most nutritious.