Mental health and physical health are both essential for a happy life. And the fact that food affects our body and mind is known to all. Yet, we select foods that focus only on physical health. We think low calorie, high protein, high fiber.
Some foods not only improve your health physically but also positively impact your mental health. And these are the foods we should focus on for overall, well-rounded fitness. However, it is important to compliment your diet with regular workouts on your home exercise bike with arms or a manual treadmill.
Below are 8 foods you can try to include in your diet to help destress and maintain positive mental health:
Eggs have all the essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants for managing a stress response. And so, because of their impressive nutrient profile, they are often referred to as natural multivitamins.
Whole eggs are particularly rich in choline, which plays an essential role in brain health. In addition, choline also aids stress response and boosts mood, further protecting you against stress.
Mackerel, herring, salmon, and sardines which fall under the fatty-fish tag, are incredibly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. These nutrients help reduce stress and improve mood, thus allowing your body to handle tension better.
Conversely, low omega-3 consumption and Vitamin D levels may increase anxiety and depression. This is especially common in populations that consume high quantities of processed foods and have lower sun exposure.
Garlic is a commonly used ingredient across regions. The sulfur compounds in garlic help increase glutathione levels, an antioxidant forming a part of your body’s first line of defense against stress. Also, garlic increases serotonin concentrations in the brain, which helps with improved brain functions such as learning, memory, and mood.
Garlic extract is often used as an anti-depressant and offers brain protection against aging and many diseases.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that helps to lower your risk of a few cancers, heart disease, and mental health disorders like depression.
Broccoli is a concentrated source of magnesium, vitamin C, and folate, essential to fight the symptoms of depression. Since broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, it helps with neuroprotective properties and has an anti-depressant effect on the brain and nervous system.
Sweet potatoes are generally considered a healthier choice of carbohydrate in the fitness industry than potatoes. This is because consuming nutrient-rich carb sources like sweet potatoes helps lower the cortisol levels in the body.
Cortisol is the stress hormone responsible for causing inflammation, pain, and a disturbed mind. Thus, a diet rich in good carbs is better at managing cortisol than a standard American diet high in refined carbohydrates.
Getting a heart-pumping workout on an under bed treadmill can also help manage cortisol levels.
Low Vitamin E levels in the body are associated with altered mood and depression. Since sunflower seeds are a great source of fat-soluble Vitamin E, it is highly recommended to include them in your diet at least a couple of times a week. This powerful antioxidant is essential to calm the mind, thus maintaining positive mental health.
Blueberries are high in antioxidant flavonoid that has potent anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. These are associated with improving mood, reducing stress-related inflammation, and protecting against stress-related cellular damage. In turn, it safeguards you against depression and uplifts your mood.
Chickpeas have magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper, all of which are stress-fighting vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, chickpeas are a great source of protein, thus making fitness enthusiasts happy as well. The protein L-tryptophan in chickpeas also helps produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, which boost brain health and improves mental performance.
Each food mentioned above contains some nutrients to help you maintain a positive mind. However, a balanced diet with a variety of macro and micro-nutrients works excellent for a peaceful mind and a healthy body.
Name: Khushali Shah
Occupation: Co-owner of healthyandkhush.com
Hi, I’m Khushali. I have struggled with weight loss my whole life. Having lost over 25kgs in the last few years, I have learned a thing or 2 about weight loss and healthy living. I love to share science-based tips and hacks that have worked for me through my blogs.