A balanced diet full of vegetables and healthy nutrients improves physical health. Eating a balanced diet also enhances mental health and wellbeing. Consuming food like cold-water seafood, whole grains, berries, and nuts act as good compliments to therapy for depression and anxiety.
An inadequate diet has multiple disadvantages to mental and physical health. These include slowing down reaction time, impaired decision-making, fatigue and stress, and depression in the long term.
At SoCal Mental Health, our private chef Veronica recognizes the importance of having a balanced diet as part of our treatment services. Our diets are nutrient-rich in order to help combat mental health issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety.
The most typical diet for most Americans consists of energy-rich and nutrient-poor food. Most of these foods provide a massive amount of calories or “empty calories” with less nutritional value. Unfortunately, not many people take nutrient-rich foods that are dense in nutrients essential for health.
A nutrient-rich diet consists of:
- Fruits vegetables
- Whole grains
- Healthy proteins including legumes and nuts, low-fat or nonfat dairy, lean cuts of meats, and fish or seafood
Most food bought has a nutrition facts label indicating the nutrients they contain. Therefore, it is essential to read through the title and ensure that the food is rich in nutrients. Essential nutrients include calcium, potassium, and fiber. These nutrients are usually listed at the bottom of the list.
If you are encountering challenges shifting from energy-rich food to nutrient-rich food, you can start by changing your diet gradually. For example, you can replace sugary drinks with water or switch from white bread to brown bread. With time, you can replace most of your non-healthy recipes with nutrient-rich food.
Benefits of Food for Mental Health
Typically, the brain depends on good nutrition to form new cells, proteins, and tissues. Healthy eating improves mental functioning, boosting mental health. An example of food associated with better brain power includes green, leafy vegetables, fatty fish, berries, and walnuts.
Also, according to some studies, there is a relationship between gut bacteria and the brain. Ideally, the activity of the gut bacteria may trigger stress and anxiety. A balanced gut microbiome improves stress resilience, while an imbalanced microbiome may affect your mental health. This means that it is essential to nourish your gut bacteria to have positive mental health effects.
Eating raw foods such as fruits and vegetables regularly has been associated with boosted moods. Most people usually consume fruits and vegetables for physical benefits, but most studies now indicate that these foods enhance mental health.
Most studies also indicate that individuals who regularly consume raw fruits and vegetables feel more satisfied with their lives. These people also have been proven to show higher levels of positivity. They are generally happier than those who consume fewer or none.
Some raw fruits and vegetables associated with boosting the mood include. These include cucumbers, apples, bananas, spinach, carrots, lettuce, kiwifruit, fresh berries, and citrus fruits.
Reducing Depression Symptoms
One way to manage depression is through exercising regularly and sticking to a healthy diet. Some people may turn to junk food when feeling depressed. What they do not know is that this behavior makes them feel even worse.
There are some specific diets to avoid when feeling depressed and low. These include those containing saturated fat, refined sugars, heavily processed sugars, and alcohol or other methods of “medication.”
When feeling depressed, it’s recommendable to eat food that triggers the brain to release serotonin, the mood-lifting neurotransmitter. These include fruits, vegetables, omega-3, and foods high in fiber.
Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression. Typically, you obtain vitamin D from the sun, but you can also get it from foods such as fish, milk, and tofu. Selenium is another food that studies have linked to depression. Low levels of selenium in your body can lead to depression.
Some foods containing selenium include whole grains, nuts, seafood, and lean meats. However, taking too much selenium can negatively impact your health. And it is essential to seek professional medical advice before taking selenium supplements.
Improving Energy Levels
A healthy diet keeps your brain active and boosts your energy level, making your body functional and function more. Performing and completing your daily task on time helps you achieve your goals and gives you a refreshed mental space.
Healthy eating usually results in a healthy body. A healthy body is attractive and well-formed, boosting confidence and self-esteem when moving around. Having positive self-esteem is essential for your mental health. While helping avoid the stress that might come from having an unfit body.
Food Provided at SoCal Mental Health
The mission of SoCal Mental Health is to deliver the highest-quality care through creating treatments that teach our clients how to manage mental health disorders. Our evidence-based methods enable clients to practice healthy habits for a smooth transition from the health facility.
Our chef, Veronica, ensures that our patients’ dietary needs are met by making nutritious food that fits clients’ needs. Our food choices include cold-pressed juices and fresh gourmet meals. The chef works hard to tailor meal options to fit personal and religious diets.