What are your concerns?

close
Inaccurate
Hard to understand
Other

Or copy link

New

Food for Mental Health Wellness: What to Eat to Keep Your Mind Healthy

Food for Mental Health Wellness: What to Eat to Keep Your Mind Healthy

Our brains operate 24/7, managing our thoughts, movements, breathing, and all vital process to keep our bodies functioning. The food we eat affects how our brains work. And it also affects our mental health. Simply put, what we eat has a direct impact on the structure and function of the brain, and in effect, our mood and wellbeing. Looking for ways to not only keep your stomach full but also keep your mind healthy and well? This article dishes out the importance of food for mental health wellness and a few ones you can try today.

Importance of Food for Mental Health Wellness

While we all have heard the saying — “you are what you eat” — many researchers are closely looking into the strong link between the brain and intestines.

Both the gut and brain are physically linked by the vagus nerve, and the two can communicate with one another. They work hand in hand in influencing emotional behavior, as well as changing the type of bacteria present.

Moreover, the American Psychological Association further explains that gut bacteria also generate a variety of neurochemicals to regulate physiological and mental processes. They are notable in producing 95% of the body’s supply of neurotransmitters known as serotonin1. It aids in the regulation of sleep and appetite, all while acting in mood stabilization and pain inhibition.

Because of these, it makes sense that the digestive system does not only work to digest food intake but also to guide your emotions.

Furthermore, new research depicts that your food choices may have an impact on your overall mood and mental health. Some people usually refer to this as the “food-mood connection.”2

Food for Mental Health Wellness You Can Try

Good food can get you to perform and think well on a daily basis. Here are some food options that you may want to add to your grocery list.

Whole grains

A list of food for mental health wellness is not complete without a good source of carbohydrates.

Studies show that whole grains are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. It aids in the following aspects:

All of these are helpful in improving your overall health and being.

Fish

Some people refer to fish as good brain food. But in what way? You may often hear Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in advertisements providing older people good benefits.

DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid that contributes to optimal brain health by improving both short and long-term memory. Following a diet with a rich amount of Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly boost one’s mental health and wellness. Not only that, it could also bring some aid in the reduction of anxiety levels.

You may incorporate this nutrient in your meals by having some seafood like salmon, trout, and even prawns. Some people reach for fish oil supplements to further boost their mental sharpness.

Green leafy vegetables

According to one study, eating green vegetables on a daily basis can help slow cognitive decline.

The participants from the said study consumed green leafy vegetables such as:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens

Yogurt

A number of people enjoy eating yogurt because of its well known probiotic benefits, but new studies revealed that it could also be good for one’s mental health due to the brain-gut connection. It helps in such a way that it reduces many levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression.

Walnuts

If you are looking for some snack food for mental health wellness, then walnuts top the list.

Walnuts are rich in antioxidants that are responsible for preventing oxidation to take place in both the brain and body. In addition to that, it can also stimulate the growth of new neurons. Thus, helping in the maintenance of good mental health.

Key Takeaways

Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel better, have more energy, and think more clearly.

If you want to start learning how to take care of your mental health through the food you eat, start by being mindful of what you eat. How you feel upon eating can make a big difference in your journey towards good health, sound mind, and body.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.

health-tool-icon

BMI Calculator

Use this calculator to check your body mass index (BMI) and find out if you're at a healthy weight. You can also use this tool to check your child's BMI.

Male

Female

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

7 Foods to Improve Your Mental Health and Wellness, https://anzmh.asn.au/blog/mental-health/foods-mental-health-wellness Accessed January 4, 2022

Eating Well for Mental Health, https://www.sutterhealth.org/health/nutrition/eating-well-for-mental-health Accessed January 4, 2022

Healthy Diet: Eating with Mental Health in Mind, https://www.mhanational.org/healthy-diet-eating-mental-health-mind Accessed January 4, 2022

Nutrition and Mental Health, https://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/articles/nutrition-and-mental-health.html#foodandmoodwhatsthelink Accessed January 4, 2022

Nutrition and Mental Health, https://familydoctor.org/nutrition-mental-health/ Accessed January 4, 2022

Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626 Accessed January 7, 2022

Picture of the authorbadge
Written by Fiel Tugade Updated May 11
Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen