“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how we think, feel, and behave. It also determines how we cope with stress, relate to others, and make choices. Although we may think of mental health in terms of having a mental health diagnosis such as depression, mental health issues impact everyone,” according to Certified Coach Amanda Morris PsyD.
If you are feeling down in the dumps lately, having problems with your relationships or connections, you may have to consider changing your diet completely. The research on nutritional intake concerning the onset of mental health imbalances has connected specific food items that help boost and improve emotional states. Most experts agree with the findings of these studies and have promoted the practice to their patients who are experiencing difficulties in handling psychological conflicts, especially on mood disorders. “All food is not created equal, and the dietary choices we make affect our bodies and minds over the weeks, months and years,” according to Lauren Broch, PhD, a clinical health psychologist.
In case you are having a hard time taking a plunge, you may at least make some small changes to help you get started as soon as possible. In this article, you will learn about some of the food items that you may incorporate in your diet regimen for a significant boost in mood that can eventually help develop your positivity.
“Psychologists are a crucial part of the interdisciplinary effort to improve diet quality, which in turn improves overall physical and mental health,” says Leanne Mauriello, PhD.
Caffeine helps in improving mental activity and increase energy levels. If you are already feeling excited, it is best to stay away from caffeinated drinks as this can further intensify the already high-alert levels of consciousness. But if you cannot do away with daily caffeine intake, a gradual reduction in dosage is practiced.
In this case, a cup of tea helps as this has a mild caffeine kick to get started. This contains theanine, a type of amino acid that is present in various varieties. Theanine works hand in hand with caffeine to help significantly improve your focus and your attention span. Around 5 to 6 cups of tea per day is right for you without the danger of going off the board with hyper-alertness and hyperarousal symptoms.
If you are feeling stressed, consider having some coconut juice to calm you down. The refreshing taste it offers once it hits your taste buds is just the tip of the iceberg on the wonderful effects. Coconut can help tame down your fight or flight response and slow down your heart rate. Using coconut oil is highly recommended as well. Based on studies conducted, coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that offer anti-depressant effects (YEAP, 2015). Furthermore, it provides antioxidant properties that can reduce the removal of the electrons from lipids. This process is called liquid peroxidation that can cause cell damage. Incorporating coconut oil into your regular food intake can help slow down the oxidation process and improves mood levels.
Popularly known as the “golden spice,” saffron contains crocetin and crocin that gives out its yellowish-red color. The compound is also responsible for the anti-stress and anti-oxidative effects. According to studies, saffron helps regulate depression and mood swings when consumed on a long-term basis. Conclusive evidence points out the anti-depressant effects of saffron as equivalent to the potency of imipramine and fluoxetine, two of the most well-known drugs on the market today. Like these drugs, saffron aids in making serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter) more accessible to the brain. As there is enough serotonin, the person will have a more stable mood and normalized anxiety levels.
Eating mussels and fatty-oil fish varieties such as rainbow trout, sardines, tuna, and salmon can offer a substantial amount of omega 3s in the body system. This is an essential nutrient that can help boost the mood thus helping one to stay positive all throughout the day. It is also noteworthy that the body cannot readily produce this nutrient, so it is imperative to eat the foods mentioned above. The omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are mainly found in fish contains a wide variety of neurobiological actions. Thru variation of neurotransmitters, anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation and neuroplasticity, the compound is responsible for producing therapeutic effects including lowering anxiety and other psychological conditions (Su, Matsuoka, & Pae, 2015).
Among all the other food that can help boost positivity, perhaps chocolate tops the list as the most popular one. Eating around 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate each day can help reduce cortisol levels (Martin, 2009). Cortisol is a hormone that is closely related to stress. Experts believe that the action of chocolate in our body is possible because of the antioxidants present in it. However, make sure to eat this in moderation, or you might have other problems like an episode of weight gain.
These food items can help you if you need a quick picker-upper. However, this does not mean that you only should rely on these foods to help you stay positive in life. To further improve your mental health condition, you must couple the food with exercises and mind-calming activities to make the most out of these approaches.
Martin, F. P. J., Rezzi, S., Peré-Trepat, E., Kamlage, B., Collino, S., Leibold, E., … & Kochhar, S. (2009). Metabolic effects of dark chocolate consumption on energy, gut microbiota, and stress-related metabolism in free-living subjects. Journal of proteome research, 8(12), 5568-5579.
Su, K.-P., Matsuoka, Y., & Pae, C.-U. (2015). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Prevention of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience, 13(2), 129–137. http://doi.org/10.9758/cpn.2015.13.2.129
YEAP, S. K., BEH, B. K., ALI, N. M., YUSOF, H. M., HO, W. Y., KOH, S. P., … LONG, K. (2015). Antistress and antioxidant effects of virgin coconut oil in vivo. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 9(1), 39–42. http://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2014.2045