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Dieting for Mental Health

Credit: Unsplash

Gotta get that brain food in you. 

There’s a notion out there that physical health and mental health are two completely separate matters. You eat well and exercise to take care of your physical health, and talk to people and see a therapist for your mental health. However, mental and physical health are actually quite deeply linked. Your emotional state can heavily influence your physical health and vice-versa. There are even foods you can eat to subtly improve your mental health. Obviously, you’re not going to cure your depression by eating tofu, but your brain does need certain chemicals and compounds to do its thing, and certain diets will get you what you need to do the best you can. 

A Mediterranean diet, for example, has shown positive effects in fighting off depression and improving mood. A Mediterranean diet is high in things like omega-3, vitamin D, methylfolate, s-adenosylmethionine. To get these chemicals, you need to eat things like fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, eggs, and olive oil, while dialing back on dairy, fish, and red meat. 

You can also try a diet rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols show promise in preventing depression and lessening its symptoms. Foods that are high in polyphenols include things like tea, soy, grapes, nuts, and citrus. 

Whatever you do, though, try to stay away from things like processed or fried foods, refined grains, overly-sugary stuff, and beer. These kinds of foods, in addition to stuff like obesity and diabetes, have been linked to various negative mental states.  

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