The results are in, and it has become clearer than ever that a balanced diet equals a balanced life.
Have you ever wondered just how much the food you eat affects your emotional well-being? In case you were wondering, the answer is ‘very’. It is clearer than ever that a balanced diet equals a balanced life. Here is everything you need to know about the correlation between the two, as well as a few tips on how to perfect it.
The diet-brain connection
It’s no secret that the food we consume has long-lasting effects on the systems that make our bodies work. A clean diet is much more desirable, as it boosts metabolism, strengthens the immune system, and reduces the risk of disease. Yet, the benefits don’t end here. A hypothesis was launched in recent years according to which eating approach equals better mental health.
For many years, the connection between diet and healthy brain function has been ignored by researchers in the fields of psychiatry and nutrition alike. However, recent evidence indicates that what you eat affects cognition, especially when it comes to mood. And unfortunately, many modern diets are unsustainable from this point of view.
Just like you wouldn’t put low-quality fuel in the gas tank of a nice car, you should think twice before consuming copious amounts of fast food and other processed snacks and desserts. According to Harvard Medical School, the science behind this is quite simple. Our moods are regulated by serotonin, and the vast majority of it is produced in the gastrointestinal tract.
Therefore, your digestive system doesn’t just help with processing food and drawing necessary nutrients from it. It also serves to guide your emotions. Studies cited by Harvard have shown that a healthy diet can improve your mental outlook and lower stress, leading to a decrease in anxiety levels overall.
Researchers are currently trying to determine whether or not a tailored meal plan can aid in depression prevention and recovery. Results are promising. Future research might prove once and for all that mental illness can be treated with the help of a healthy diet.
How to improve mood with food
1. Eat at regular intervals
Although skipping a meal seems tempting when you’re short on time, it’s not recommended to do so if you want to balance your mood. When your blood sugar drops, you end up feeling irritable, tired, and even depressed. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, always eat breakfast so that you start the day off on the right foot.
Eggs are the ideal choice for this meal, as they are rich in nutrients. However, you will need to be mindful of the preparation process. According to TheKitchenAdvisor.com, the secret behind this is to choose the right pan. By doing so, you will ensure that your breakfast is cooked as healthily as possible with minimal added fat, while still preserving its flavour.
Lunch and dinner aren’t optional either. However, instead of eating too much at a time, try to control your portions. If you start feeling peckish too early, a healthy snack will always help. Nibble on some nuts or eat a piece of fruit to restore blood sugar levels and curb your angry cravings until it’s time for the next meal.
2. Probiotics are your friend
A review of studies conducted between 1990 and 2016 has shown that beneficial gut bacteria have positive effects on the human psyche. Although there is a lot to cover on the topic still, the data gathered up to the present moment indicates that probiotics are a viable dietary addition when mood enhancement is sought.
These microorganisms are usually found in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso soup, yogurt, or kefir. To consume them daily, use them to garnish meals, or as a deliciously tangy snack. What is more, dark chocolate is an excellent source of probiotics as well, which is good news if you have a sweet tooth.
3. Incorporate Omega-3
When it comes to cognition-enhancing nutrients, nothing compares to omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds work with the brain’s neurotransmitter to promote better mental function. This is beneficial in the case of mood disorders as well. Simply put, by incorporating them into your meals, you will eat clean and balance your emotions at the same time.
The most popular and delicious source is found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, and herring. Consume a fillet grilled or broiled alongside a serving of steamed vegetables for a nourishing and disposition-enhancing lunch or dinner. If you prefer a lighter meal, you can also add their marinated or smoked versions to a salad.
Remove processed and refined foods from your menu and focus on beneficial ingredients and a well-adjusted meal plan. This will improve not only physical health, but mental health as well. By consuming your meals at regular intervals and focusing them on clean, organic ingredients, you are paving the way towards a better life.
Author Bio: Amanda Wilks is a passionate writer and cooking enthusiast. She enjoys writing about nutrition, healthy eating, and cooking methods. Through her writing, she hopes to inspire others to make smart choices regarding their own diet.
Learn more about Amanda on Twitter.
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