6 Best Diets For Better Mental Health

Guest blog by Molly Crockett

As mental health continues to be of importance in the medical field, experts and researchers are now looking at the food consumption that affects mental health. With many foods causing all kinds of symptoms like depression and anxiety, it makes you wonder what kinds of foods can actually combat such symptoms.

In this article, we’ll first have a look at the culprits of what might negatively impact mental health, as well as the types of diets that have been proven to better your mood and outlook.

First, What Foods Cause Trouble

Ever felt the need for a quick snack, because you’re feeling down? Have you ever been stressed and overwhelmed that you want to reach for that comfort food that you like so much? You’re not alone!

The problem is, sugar and processed foods are the main culprits that can affect your mood. They can cause inflammation throughout the body and brain, thus leading to mood disorders (e.g. anxiety and depression). 

According to the American Dietetic Association, people have the tendency to either eat too much or too little when depressed, or under certain amounts of stress. If you eat too much, you’ll find yourself dealing with sluggishness and weight gain. Or, if you eat too little, you feel more exhausted than usual. Either way, poor diets can only aggravate symptoms. 

Fortunately, this is a cycle that you can overcome. Here are 6 types of diets that you might consider when reducing your depression and anxiety, and move on to have better mental health:

  1. Complex Carbs

Complex carbohydrates can give you energy. Such carbs can come from brown rice and starchy vegetables. Good examples are: 

  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beets

You can’t find these good carbs in sugar or candy. 

  • Protein (The Lean Ones)

Of all the proteins in the average diet, lean proteins are the important ones. These proteins give you energy that allows your body to think and react quickly. 

Here are great examples of foods that are rich in lean protein:

  • Chicken
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Fatty Acids

Fatty acids are responsible for ensuring that your brain works properly. And, it ensures that your nervous system stays running. Despite their “fatty” substance, they’re actually the good fats that won’t jeopardize your diet. 

Fatty acids can found in the following foods:

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Flaxseeds
  • Nuts
  • Polyphenols

According to recent studies, polyphenols have been linked to the prevention of depression, as they do well in improving depressive symptoms.

Polyphenols can be found in:

  • coffee
  • tea
  • citrus
  • nuts
  • soy
  • grapes
  • legumes
  • spices
  • Low-Calorie Dieting

Restricting calorie intake is simply reducing calories well below the amount that would be consumed ad libitum; however, that depends on the individual’s needs.

Now, low-calorie dieting can result in two outcomes:

  • Going from the recommended 2,000 calories a day to between 1,200 and 1,400 (while still getting plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals, and water) for a period of 6 months has shown significant changes in mood.
  • The more severe result (when not taking in enough protein, vitamins, minerals, and water) can be developing eating disorders. Plus, people with existing disorders or behaviors would only make things worse when they try to reduce their calorie intake.

In short, you may want to exercise this type of diet with caution. In fact, before starting this diet (or any diet for that matter), consult your doctor or dietitian about how you can get the best out of that diet, and get plenty of nutrients. Finally, this type of diet is meant to be short-term.

  • Fasting

Intermittent fasting has been shown to help you improve your mood and mental well-being. In fact, clinicians and medical experts that found that fasting can lead to significant improvements in mood; more specifically: 

  • Better well-being
  • Alertness
  • Tranquility
  • Euphoric feelings (in some cases)
  • Less mood swings

However, like low-calorie dieting, be sure to consult your doctor or a medical expert before taking part in fasting. Fasting (especially for 48 hours) may cause these negative mood changes:

  • Increased anger
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue

Conclusion

Just a few reminders, before we conclude:

  • Try to cut back on sugary and or processed foods.
  • Not all diets are created equal. So, be sure to consult your doctor before trying a diet or fasting.

As you keep these things in mind, you’ll feel better not only physically, but also mentally. 

Molly Crockett writes and edits for Essayroo.com. As a successful marketer, she shares her unique marketing advice with her audience.