Our brain is constantly thinking, studying, wondering and creating. In order to function at its highest capacity our brain needs fuel and energy in terms of diet and nutrition. What we put into our bodies affects the chemical structure of our brain and ultimately our mood. Eating nutritious foods packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can have an impact on our energy and how we feel. For too long we have overlooked the connection between diet and mental health and now more and more research shows that diet is a critical component in effective treatment combatting depression, anxiety, ADHD and many other conditions. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has a critical role in mood, sleep, and appetite among other things. We know that imbalances in serotonin are one of the key biological components in conditions such as depression and anxiety. What many people do not realize is that about 95% of serotonin is made in our gastrointestinal tract. The production of this serotonin is mediated by our intestinal flora and what we consume in terms of nutrition has an impact on this.
Try to cut out refined or simple sugars as much as possible. Refined sugar can promote increased inflammation which has been linked to a decline in both physical and emotional health. Diets high in refined sugar have been linked to mood disorders.
Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to boost vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Avoid processed foods as much as you can. Many processed foods use fermentation which breaks down sugar to carbon dioxide, alcohol and lactic acids. Unprocessed foods, on the other hand, are natural probiotics which can improve energy levels and and decrease inflammation.
Consider adding fish to your diet. Omega three fatty acids found in seafood and fish oil have been shown to exhibit beneficial effects on mood. Several randomized controlled studies have found a positive correlation between taking omega three supplements high in DHA with decreased symptoms of ADHD.
Check out the local farmers market! We have some of the best farm to table purveyors and this can be a chance to add new foods to your diet and learn about different cooking techniques.
Try a healthy cooking class or find a new nutritious recipe to try out. Consider joining a newsletter that sends you healthy recipes to keep things interesting.
Make meals ahead of time. Our lives are busy and sometimes it can be helpful to plan out our menu for the week.
Enlist a friend or family member. Challenge and encourage each other along the way.
Consider an app to record your diet throughout the day to track your nutrients, inspire and motivate you.
Have healthy snacks nearby in case cravings strike. When we are tired or stressed we tend to reach towards processed or fast foods and having something like nuts or fruit on hand hand stave off those cravings.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to improve energy and keep you hydrated.
Keep in mind that moderation is key. Everyone is entitled to a splurge at times. However, the more positive changes you make in terms of your physical and emotional health the better and better you will start to feel. Health is a journey and we would love to partner with you. Please let us know if you have any questions or if we can help in any way!