It shouldn’t come to a surprise that eating healthy and natural food will improve your cognitive skills. After all, isn’t that what your parents have been telling you since you were a kid refusing to eat your plate of broccoli because they taste gross? By now you already know the physical benefits of a healthy all natural diet but are you aware of the mental benefits of eating healthy?
Eating healthy will not only make you look better. But, you’ll also feel better too. Think back to the last time you ate at a fast food joint. After your highly saturated meal, you most likely felt sluggish, bloated even. Perhaps you felt heavy the entire day and wanted nothing more than to sleep the moment you got home. Whereas when you eat a healthier, greener meal, you’ll feel more awake and energized. You’re able to focus better and even more motivated to achieve your goals for the day.
Natural foods like fruits and vegetables are necessary for our body, but with the rapid urbanization of most communities, it can be a little tricky and frustrating to find fresh produce. For a lot of people, eating natural food is too much trouble for what it’s worth especially for those living in the middle of the city. Processed foods might be easier to come by but, make no mistake, compared to natural food, they’re devoid of essential nutrients and vitamins that your body needs. Fresh and raw fruits and vegetables are as close to as nature intended for us to consume them so obviously they are insanely rich in health-giving nutrients.
There’s a reason why health junkies always seem so perky and optimistic. Their diet of natural food boosts their cognitive functions and greatly improves their overall mental and emotional state. What you fill in your stomach impacts your brain in more ways than you can imagine. It doesn’t stop there either. Healthy eating can also benefit your hair, no matter what type it may be, be it straight, curly, long, or short. However, for those looking to straighten their naturally curly hair, there are a ton of resources for that!
Natural Food for Mental Health
Recently experts have discovered the strong correlation between good nutrition and mental health Studies and surveys conducted have revealed that healthy and natural food is vital for maintaining a balanced and healthy psyche.
Research has even shown that there seems to be evidence that supports the idea that natural food can aid in the recovery of people with mental health issues. While dietary changes won’t completely improve one’s anxiety or depression, they can reduce symptoms of mental illnesses.
What and how people eat seems to be a factor in whether a person will develop depression or anxiety, or exacerbate the symptoms. Since the food that we eat impacts our neurotransmitter levels and functioning, it makes sense that choosing a healthier diet can lead to an improved mental state. Serotonin, for instance, the hormone that controls your mood, is manufactured in the gut. Treat your gut poorly, and your serotonin levels will decline.
Did you know that people are eating a Japanese or Mediterranean type of diet, which mainly composed of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants as well as clean and healthy whole foods, are less likely to get depression than those on a more Western diet (red meat, carbs, and processed food)?
The majority believe that natural food provides more micronutrients which could improve a person’s mental well-being. Studies revealed that those who eat raw fruits and vegetables reported better than those who eat cooked or processed meals. Processed foods cause degradation of nutrients, so they make poor diet choices for anyone looking for a mental boost.
Boosting Your Brain Power
Besides constantly reading and learning and getting into spirited debates with your peers, you can also improve cognitive functions with the right diet Proper nutrition will improve the blood flow to your brain, keeping your body’s most important organ safe and in good shape. Additionally, a healthier diet will guarantee that your brain will have enough energy for peak productiveness.
Here are a few recommended foods that will keep your mind healthy and sharp so you’ll always be working at your best.
Green and Leafy Vegetables
First, up is, to absolutely no one’s surprise, vegetables. That’s right, and those leafy greens are your ticket to a stronger brain. Vegetables like spinach, beets, turnips, broccoli, lentils, and the like are rich in folic acid which is crucial for brain development. Folate deficiency has been known to cause higher levels of fatigue, insomnia, even mental disorders like depression. No wonder your parents kept forcing you to eat broccoli all those years ago.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Or fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Fatty fish are quite known as brain boosters. Your body can’t naturally produce essential fatty acids that our brain needs. Therefore, you need to include omega-3s in your diet as much as you can.
Omega-3 fatty acids support the synapses of our brain, boosting your ability to learn and retain new information. Not only that, but omega-3s also affect the production of neurotransmitters which researchers have found can reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Fatty fish seems to have a mood-stabilizing effect too which can be helpful for people recovering from depression.
Protein is actually one of the most abundant substances in one’s body. The building block of protein, amino acid tryptophan, produces the neurotransmitter serotonin which can influence a person’s mood. An imbalance of serotonin levels can severely affect one’s mental health that’s why lean protein like chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, and beans are so important.
Lastly, we all know that the brain’s source of energy is from the sugar glucose. This comes from carbohydrates, but it should be noted that not all carbohydrates are equal. Simple carbs (like processed and refined sugar) are broken down quickly which, rather than energize one’s brain, can actually cause a decline in mood levels. Not to mention, it can create spikes in one’s blood sugar. Complex carbs (whole grain), on the other hand, break down and release glucose gradually, which means that it’s a steadier source of energy for your mind and your body. Whole wheat products, oats, wild rice, soy, and beans are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates.
Being Mindful of Your Mental Health Diet
Additionally, there are a few foods and drinks that you’re better off avoiding if you wish to improve your mental health Keep these important tips in mind when you are setting off to formulating your next diet.
Stay hydrated all the time. Drink the recommended number of glasses of water each day since even mild dehydration can make you lose focus, drain your energy, and alter your mood.
Cut back on caffeine. For coffee addicts out there, it is highly recommended to lessen one’s daily consumption of coffee especially for those with anxiety disorders. If you must have caffeine, drink tea instead of coffee. Not only does tea have a lower amount of caffeine than coffee, but it also has antioxidants which can protect your body tissues from toxins.
Avoid sugary drinks as well. Sodas and juices might be sweet, but they’re simply empty calories that do more harm than good. Moreover, they can damage your teeth because of all that sugar in the long run.
Spend time out in the sun for ten to thirty minutes at least twice in a week. Vitamin D is crucial for our muscles as well as our immune system, and our body can naturally produce this vitamin as a result of being under the sun. Of course, you shouldn’t spend too much time exposed in the sun. Otherwise, you’d get sunburned. A brief walk or jog early in the morning will do the trick just fine.
Speaking of early mornings, never forget to eat a healthy breakfast meal. Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day since it will fuel your body after so many hours of going without food. Not only that, breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism so skipping this crucial meal will lead your body to feel weak and sluggish.