What are some foods and nutritional strategies you can use to improve your mental health?
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Chemical Imbalances and Mental Health
Foods that are rich in omega fatty acids, as well as vitamins can often help to restore chemical imbalances in the brain which cause or lead to mental illness or disorders.
Imbalances in chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain have been known to catalyze the following mental illnesses and disorders:
- Chronic fatigue
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Eating disorders
- Thoughts of self-harming/aggression toward others
Foods for Mental Health
With such a list of negative consequences, it is important to utilize nutrition to keep mental health in check. Below are seven ways to improve your mental health with nutrition:
The seven ways to improve mood include:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
Mental Health and Nutrition
Below we take a closer look at these 7 ways to improve your mental health with nutrition:
Folate, or vitamin B9, is known to improve brain function while acting as a therapeutic device for treating mental illness.
“Both folate and vitamin B12 deficiency may cause similar neurologic and psychiatric disturbances including depression, and dementia.”
Folate can be found in spinach and broccoli, as well as beans and lentils.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are typically found in fatty types of fish, as well as olive oil and even basil. According to sources, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be effective in easing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
Omega 3s have been shown to improve memory retention and cognitive function, as well. It may even be helpful for those suffering from a head or brain injury.
Brain injuries can result in memory loss, as well as a host of other brain-related issues, such as mood swings and depression. Because the limbic system within the brain controls emotion, behavior, and memory, these functions go together and are all related.
When the brain is injured, according to sources, the most common areas of injury are the temporal and frontal lobes. The frontal lobe often controls actions of memory, particularly short-term memory, within the prefrontal cortex.
3. Vitamin D
Several studies and researchers believe that a decrease or lower levels of vitamin D may be responsible for causing forms of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and even chronic fatigue.
Vitamin D is absorbed through moderate exposure to the sun and is also found in many calcium-containing foods, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt.
4. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is closely linked to the chemicals produced within our brains that control feelings of happiness and contentment. Adversely, if a person is experiencing a vitamin B12 deficiency, they may feel feelings of depression and or anxiety. Getting enough vitamin B12 is essential to mental health.
Vitamin B12 can be found in the following foods and is also sold in supplement form: fish, eggs, poultry, breakfast cereals, meat, and milk.
5. Vitamin C
According to research, when select individuals were put through stressful situations, those without a vitamin C deficiency typically handled these circumstances better.
German researchers took 120 people and exposed them to public speaking, which some say, they fear even more than death! Half of those within the group received 1,000 mg of vitamin C.
As a result, they displayed lower levels of cortisol, which is a hormone released when someone experiences stress, and also lower levels of blood pressure.
Zinc deficiency, according to sources, has been tied to rates of depression and other mental disorders, such as attention deficit disorder and even psychosis.
Magnesium is found in certain nuts, such as cashews and almonds, as well as black beans and dark chocolate. Magnesium is a mineral that is extremely important to the balance and function of the human brain.
While the exact role magnesium plays in reducing depression and other mental disorders still requires further research, sources say it is effective in maintaining stasis among neurotransmitters, which can, in turn, promote a healthy, stable mood.
Foods for Mental Health Wellness
Your brain is the key controller of the most activities in your body, therefore, its health is very important for overall well-being. As discussed in the above points, some foods and nutritional strategies can help you to improve your mental health and ability. When shopping, be sure to include foods for mental health.
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