Nutrition, Your Brain and Mental Health
Although there are many incredible nutritionist and holistic health experts that have long since addressed the importance of gut health and its relation to mental health, research and evidence in the past decade and more show that eating a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients and vegetables supports our mental health and wellbeing.
Good nutritional intake at early age development has been explored in multiple studies, showing that poor diets (high levels of saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and processed food products) is directly linked to poor mental health in children and adolescents.
As we shared last week, experience of mental health problems can be associated with poor physical health, and poor diet. There are a range of complex factors such as living in poverty, or deprived communities, and as we have seen, a global pandemic. However, these inequality factors have been shown to have a complex relationship with poor nutrition.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that not only assists in regulating sleep and appetite, mediate mood, but also inhibit pain. 95% of your serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, and that tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, a.k.a. Neurons. The function of these neurons is influenced by billions of “good” bacteria. So of course, it would make sense the the inner workings of your digestive system aren't designed to just digest your food intake, but guides your emotions as well!!!
Researchers now agree that not only do the good bacteria influence what your gut digests and absorbs, but also regulates the inflammation in your body, your mood, and energy levels.
Take the time to look at what your food and drink intakes are, and start bringing awareness to how you feel, and your energy levels after intake. What you digest effects in the moment and the next couple days to come. Try a “clean” diet for the next two or three weeks. No processed foods or sugar. Notice how you feel and then bring certain foods back into your diet.
You will feel better emotionally and physically, and have noticeable differences when you reintroduce foods that can enhance inflammation. Follow our social posts this week for Nutrition Facts and clean food choices.
*Supporting Research: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626
(Disclaimer) If you suspect you have a mental illness or you're being treated by a mental health professional, ask about how you can incorporate physical activity into your treatment.
A qualified mental health professional can make suggestions about the best strategies for treating your specific condition.
Food, Mood and Your Brain
Your brain is working 24/7 and requires constant fuel, what’s in that fuel makes ALL the difference. “What you eat directly affects the structure and function of your grain, and ultimately, your mood.”
INTERESTING FACT: For many years, the medical field did not fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food. Now a growing field of nutritional psychiatry is finding the many consequences and correlations between what you eat, how you feel, and how you ultimately behave, and the kinds of bacteria in your gut.
Improving your diet will help to:
Improve Your Mood
Give You Energy
Help You Think More Clearly
From Mind.Org: Tips to manage your mood with food video: https://youtu.be/CSHO9VdVRfg
Wednesday Post - Create a Post that has the Link for Daily Therapy Trackers AND the Mental Health Movement COVID TOOLKIT:
TMS Institute of America, they provide some incredible ‘Daily Therapy Trackers’ As they say on their own site, “Be Your Own Mental Health Advocate”. Download Yours Today https://www.tmshelps.com/self-help-tips-tools
Mental Health Movement’s COVID ToolKit: It will easily and simplistically help you to understand the various contributing factors affecting your mental health and simple ‘how-to’ steps to move towards better mental wellbeing. Download their guide
Visit www.urbanofficeplace.com/wellbeing for our Evidence Based Mental Wellbeing Resource Guide
Nutrition Quick Tips:
Eating breakfast starts the day off healthy
Eat smaller meals spaced out more regularly throughout the day
Avoid Foods which make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly
Drink between 6-8 glasses of water each day
Be mindful of drinks with too much sugar, caffeine or alcohol
Try decaffeinated drinks (or avoid it all together), you will feel noticeably better quickly,
Fresh or frozen, or juiced fruits and vegetables: Optimal Health 5 portions/day
Fiber supports good gut health, fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, live cultured yogurt and other probiotics
Get enough protein
Your brain needs fatty acids: fish oil, poultry, nuts, olive and sunflower oil, avocados, yogurt, cheese and eggs
It might take some time for your gut to get used to a new eating pattern, so adjust slowly
If you are feeling stressed, and believe it is affecting your gut, try some breathing exercises or relaxation techniques
Have FUN! Research some new healthy recipes to try
ENGAGEMENT QUESTION: Cut out the processed food and sugar and eat a “clean” diet and notice how you feel. Will you commit to eating “clean” for the next two weeks?