Food choices affect your mood, ability to concentrate and energy level. There has been more research to show how food does affect your mental health.
Fresh fruit and vegetables not only give you more energy but help ward off many diseases including cancer. If you are craving strange foods, it is often a sign that you’re lacking in nutrients and vitamins.
* You can be overweight and malnourished at the same time, which sounds bizarre, but it’s true. Many people in the western world who live in poverty are actually obese because they load up on high calorie, low cost fatty foods and carbohydrates. This makes them more vulnerable to heart attacks and diabetes among other possible health complications.
Foods to Avoid or Eat in Moderation:
Alcohol, caffeine, white rice and bread, fried foods, sugar and animal fat. These can make you feel more energetic initially but are only good for a quick burst of energy. This is especially true of caffeine and sugar. You will usually crash and come down, feeling more tired than you did originally. Alcohol is a depressant and although it’s often used to celebrate, will also bring you down if overdone.
Many people have strong negative reactions to chemicals and additives as well, so organic produce would be a healthier choice.
Nutritious food options include brown bread and rice, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, lean meat, fish and beans. Some choose to take a vitamin supplement as well but if you change your lifestyle to include all food groups you will probably get enough vitamins from that.
Medication may sometimes be in order for depression that does not go away. This can indicate a chemical imbalance or mood disorder. Any health concerns should be discussed in more detail with your doctor. Others that may need special medical care include those recovering from an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa.
* The Food and Mood Project surveyed 200 people and 88% found that changing their diet improved their mental health. For more information, see Depression Alliance Scotland: Food and Mood
Other Lifestyle Changes
Because your energy level increases when you choose healthier foods, you are usually more active. This is also a natural mood enhancer since exercise is known to help boost serotonin levels.
If you associate with positive people, you’re more likely to maintain your healthy lifestyle since they will also be interested in good mental and physical health. If you wish to meet more people that are positive consider taking a special interest class or joining a health or book club.