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The relationship between healthy eating and mental health

Posted
June 5, 2023
4 min 50 sec
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Mental health is fundamental for our well-being, and there is growing evidence from science of the close relationship between healthy eating and mental health. 

Good nutrition has a positive impact on our mood, emotions, and thinking abilities.

However, did you know that certain foods are more helpful than others for our mental health? 

By knowing which foods to favor, you can make better choices to take care of your mind and body at the same time. Isn’t it exciting to know that you have the ability to power your brain through the foods you eat?

Foods that promote mental health

Several studies have shown that some foods can have a positive impact on mental health. Some of these foods include those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and B vitamins

Omega-3 fatty acids 

Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as boosting your thinking abilities. 

You can find omega-3 fatty acids in: 

  • Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, and herring for example.
  • Flaxseeds, chia seeds: these small seeds can be ground and added to smoothies, oatmeal, or used in baking.
  • Walnuts: can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, oatmeal, or baked goods.
  • Hemp Seeds: can be sprinkled on top of salads, yogurt, or blended into smoothies.
  • Soybeans: and soy products, such as tofu and edamame

Antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the brain from oxidative stress and cell damage. 

You can find antioxidants in: 

  • Berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries…
  • Colorful vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and bell peppers.
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
  • Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa
  • Green tea
  • Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants, especially the antioxidant called lycopene.
  • Citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C.

B vitamins

B vitamins are involved in the production of mood-related neurotransmitters such as serotonin. By including these foods in your diet, you can nourish your brain and promote optimal mental health.

You can find B vitamins in: 

  • Whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, and quinoa
  • Leafy greens: spinach, kale, broccoli for example.
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas...
  • Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and beef
  • Eggs are a great source of B vitamins, especially B12.
  • Dairy products: milk, cheese, and yogurt.
  • Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds.
  • Certain fish like salmon, trout, and tuna are good sources of B vitamins, especially B12.

The impact of poor nutrition on mental health:

Just as a healthy diet can benefit our mental health, a poor diet can have very bad effects on our emotional and mental state. Foods high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and processed foods can upset the balance of chemicals in our brain and lead to mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

  • Unhealthy fats found in fast food and full-fat dairy products can cause inflammation in the body, including the brain. This inflammation is linked to a higher risk of depression and lower emotional well-being. 
  • Eating too much refined sugar can cause quick changes in blood sugar levels, affecting mood and energy levels. 
  • Processed foods often lack important nutrients for the brain, leading to reduced cognitive abilities and an overall poorer mental health.

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How to take care of your mental health through your diet

In our busy lives, we often eat without thinking and ignore our body's needs. But being mindful about eating can really make the difference for our brain. 

Here are some simple ways to take care of your brain:

  • Stick to a meal schedule: eating at regular times helps keep our energy levels stable and prevents overeating or impulsive snacking.
  • Listen to your body: before eating, ask yourself if you're really physically hungry or just feeling emotional. Also, pay attention to when you're full and stop eating when you are.
  • Enjoy your food: take time to savor each bite, noticing the flavors, textures, and smells. This helps you feel satisfied and builds a healthier relationship with food.
  • Take care of yourself: it's not just about what you eat, but also how you take care of yourself. Get enough rest, manage stress, exercise, have positive relationships. 

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By practicing mindful eating and self-care, you can improve your relationship with food, find emotional balance, and boost your overall mental health. 

It takes time and practice, but the benefits are worth it in the long run.

Self-hypnosis & healthy nutritional choices:

It's not always easy to make the right choices. Craving unhealthy food, not having enough time to cook healthy meals, caving in the face of stress, are all part of everyday life.

Self-hypnosis can make it easier to eat healthily.

Self-hypnosis works by tapping into your subconscious mind, where your habits and thoughts are deeply ingrained. By practicing self-hypnosis, you can reprogram your preferences around food, making it easier to choose healthy options naturally.

Use self-hypnosis to address the emotional triggers that make you choose unhealthy food. Through visualization and suggestion techniques, explore your emotions and replace automatic responses with healthier thoughts and actions. Self-hypnosis helps you make conscious and balanced decisions, even when faced with challenging situations or pressure to make unhealthy choices, like at a dinner with friends or at Christmas, for example. 

Self-hypnosis also boosts our motivation and self-confidence in making healthy food choices. This empowered mindset helps you resist temptations and stay committed to healthy eating in the long run.

Use Oneleaf to learn how to make the right food choices

Oneleaf  is a scientifically proven weight loss method that can help you say goodbye to unhealthy food and reach your weight loss goals. Using the APP, you can:

  • Address the underlying emotions that drive your comfort eating.
  • Increase your motivation and self-confidence.
  • Develop new habits and healthier coping mechanisms.
  • Enjoy a more restful and rejuvenating sleep.
  • Achieve a greater sense of inner peace and calm.

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