Food: Your Secret Weapon for a Healthy Body and Mind
The old adage “you are what you eat” holds a lot of truth, especially when it comes to your mental health. A healthy and balanced diet goes beyond just physical fitness and nourishment; it affects how your brain works and your emotional well-being. In fact, the food you eat has been shown to play a crucial role in not only how your body functions physically but also has an impact on your mental health as well. It’s tempting to reach for a packaged snack or fast food dinner, especially when life gets busy, but the negative outcomes far outweigh the positive.
Putting in a little effort into what you put into your body has good long-term effects that will keep your body healthy and happy. Here are nine foods that keep your body both physically and mentally on point:
This creamy delight is more than just a tasty treat. Scientific research shows that yogurt can increase the levels of serotonin in your body, which is known as the neurotransmitter responsible for boosting your mood and fighting off bouts of depression. Yogurt is also important for improving gut health, which is where a majority of the serotonin in your body is found. Improving gut health also allows for less inflammation in your body.
Turkey is not only a healthier meat option, but it also contains beneficial chemicals like tryptophan and selenium. Tryptophan produces serotonin, while selenium helps reduce inflammation in your body and minimizes depression. It’s a lean protein that’s perfect for a healthy meal.
This summertime veggie is a particularly rich source of folic acid and therefore a natural mood booster. This green superfood has been linked to lowering mild depression and boosting energy. Folic acid also has been known to help keep inflammation at bay; something that is essential to our well-being.
4. Dark leafy green vegetables
Spinach, collard greens, chard, and kale are all great providers of magnesium, which is known to have mood-boosting effects by increasing the levels of serotonin in your body. Magnesium is also known for helping to decrease inflammation that can be the leading cause of chronic illnesses.
5. Roasted cherry tomatoes
Within the bright red skin of tomatoes is phytonutrient lycopene, which helps with combating inflammatory compounds that are linked to depression. Cherry tomatoes are recommended over regular-sized ones because they are smaller in size and therefore, you are likely to eat more, and get provided with more effective anti-inflammatory fighting qualities. Why roast them? According to research, cooked tomatoes increase the lycopene your body will take in during consumption.
6. Wild salmon
Omega-3 fats that are commonly found in salmon are known to prevent depression. The human body cannot produce its own omega-3 fats, so it is crucial to get it from outside food sources in order to maintain overall mental and physical health. These fats also help to minimize low-level inflammation throughout the body and brain, making salmon a great choice for a healthy meal.
7. Dark chocolate
Research has proven that dark chocolate (in small doses) can act as an excellent mood booster, as well as improving brain cognition by increasing blood flow to the brain with the flavonols found in this sweet treat. Dark cocoa has been also known to help decrease the stress hormone cortisol, as well as help cut down pro-inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate 70 percent or higher is the recommended daily amount.
8. Green tea
This healthy beverage has been utilized around the world for centuries because of its many healing properties. It is also a great drink to start the morning with or have for a midday energy boost. Green tea has a compound called theanine, which is an amino acid that helps reduce stress and relax muscles. The catechin polyphenols in this tea help with monitoring inflammation throughout the body, and it also has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism and increasing your overall energy.
Known for their healing properties, chickpeas contain tryptophan, folate, and vitamin B6 that help boost your mood and fight inflammation throughout your body. Chickpeas are also known for having the trace mineral manganese that helps with energy production, regulating your metabolism, and providing an antioxidant defense.
Conclusively, the food you eat plays a pivotal role in the way you live, think, and feel. While the list of healthy foods that can benefit your mental health is diverse, these nine items are some of the most effective in providing your body with the nutrition it needs to perform optimally. It’s high time to start paying attention to what goes into your body, because a healthy mind and a healthy body are inseparable.