Are you getting enough fruit and veggies, and what does it have to do with your mood? Nutritional psychology is a newer field of study in which researchers study the relationship between our diets and our psychological health.
While there is still much to learn, there have been many recent studies on how we can support our mental health by eating the right foods. Their most interesting findings are below.
Linking food and mood
Just like the rest of our organs, the brain needs proper nutrition to function properly. It makes sense that when you feed your brain a balanced diet, your mood and mental health improve.
A recent study found that while regular exercise and a healthy diet were linked to high levels of mental wellbeing, fast food consumption was correlated to mental distress. With higher levels of salt, sugar, and saturated fat, participants’ moods lowered.
So, what foods are best for your brain? The brain is 60% fat, so healthy fats help it function better. Some foods that include healthy fats are:
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Flax seeds
- Most nuts
Foods in the Mediterranean diet have also been proven to help boost mood. These foods include:
- Vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and turnips
- Fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, and peaches
- Legumes like beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, and chickpeas
- Whole grains including oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, and whole wheat products
- Seafood like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, and mussels
- Most poultry
We have much to learn about the links between our diets and our mental health. At Valley Oaks Health, we believe in a holistic approach to managing and maintaining your mental health. Our trained team is here to help you start your journey, so get in touch today.