The Best Whole Foods for Your Mental Health

Have you ever noticed how bad you feel after eating something greasy? Sure, it tastes fantastic going down, but it doesn’t take long for the bloat and mental fog to kick in. If food is thy medicine, fatty, oily, and fried foods are a shot in the foot.

Of course, everything can be enjoyed in moderation. However, there’s no denying that some foods make you feel better than others. Plant-based diets have started gaining more traction in recent years as more people begin to realize the substantial physical and mental health effects that your diet can have on you.

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Studies can back this up, too. A recent one in New Zealand discovered that people who incorporated more raw produce into their diet were at a lower risk of suffering from mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Even though this study only showed a correlation and not a cause-and-effect relationship, it’s still quite promising; raw produce may have higher volumes of nutrients, which could, in turn, explain the participants’ improved mental health.

While it’s generally much better for you if the bulk of your diet is whole foods (think fruits, vegetables, grains, anything unprocessed, really), some whole foods have different effects on your health. Today, we’ll be focusing more on the mental health aspect of your diet, and what foods you can eat to preserve your health and peace of mind.

Fermented foods

Eating food that’s been sitting around a while might strike you as a counterintuitive, but in reality, they can have some incredible health benefits. If you’re not already aware, your digestive system is home to a booming metropolis of microfauna–a.k.a bacteria–that keeps things running smoothly in your gut. These microfauna are the caregivers of the digestive system: they break the food down, help sort the nutrients from the waste, and fight off any potential infections. Fermented foods, luckily, are loaded with these helpful microfauna, which are also called probiotics. Just as a Kansasian would want a sickly loved one to be in the hands of the best home health care services in Wichita, KS, you too should want the best microfauna to take care of your gut; they could help preserve your sanity. Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha are all chock full of these helpful bacteria that have a pretty significant influence on your mood. Researchers are finding that there’s a strong link between gut health and mental health, too, so next time you’re sad, hit your favorite Korean restaurant.

Fish

Have you ever heard of DHA? It’s a fatty acid found in oily fish like salmon, prawns, and trout that helps with memory improves your overall mood and reduces anxiety. Fish is also packed with essential omega-3 acids that keep the serotonin and dopamine in your brain circulating smoothly. Not only can you improve your memory by incorporating fish into your diet, but you could also facilitate serotonin and dopamine circulation in your brain–all of which lead to a happier and healthier you.

Whole grains
If you’re like us, you’re a serious bread lover. Thankfully, you don’t have to ditch the carbs to feel better about yourself. However, you might have to switch up the kind you’re eating. A lot of whole grains, like quinoa, oats, barley, rye, corn, and brown rice, contain amino acids that boost your brain’s serotonin production. Serotonin has a massive effect on your mood and sleep cycle, so you could improve your general mood and sleeping patterns by merely eating more whole grains.


Consider a bowl of steel-cut oats with antioxidant-rich berries if you want to start your day off on a healthy, balanced foot. This amino acid-antioxidant combo will have you firing on all cylinders for the whole day.

Produce

When it comes to eating healthy, it’s hard to beat a rainbow of fresh produce. The unique health benefits of each fruit and vegetable are too many to list here but know that you can’t go wrong with a bowl of fresh fruit or veggies. Produce is a great mood regulator since they contain complex carbohydrates or carbs that slowly release their energy into our bodies throughout the day. This slow release translates to better-regulated moods, and therefore, a calmer you. If you want to focus on the most nutrient-dense produce, look for leafy greens like kale and spinach and antioxidant-rich fruits like berries. The vitamins and minerals in produce will nourish your body the way it’s supposed to be nourished, leaving you feeling as healthy as you can feel.

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