While many individuals opt for medication and therapy to tackle mental health problems, there are also natural ways to boost one’s mood. The benefits of exercise and endorphins are frequently discussed by health experts and psychologists.
What many forget is the importance of a balanced diet and the power it has to increase energy levels and decrease fatigue. While eating healthy is not a cure to improve mental health, it can be used in conjunction with exercise to boost results.
It is important to note that none of these foods or drinks are proven to prevent, treat, or cure any disease. Please speak with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise plan.
Here are the top foods to eat to help decrease blood-sugar spikes, increase energy, and lower anxiety and depression.
1. Oily Fish
Fish contains an important fatty acid called DHA. While many take this supplement, they don’t always eat enough of it in their diet. DHA is an Omega-3 fatty acid. It assists in memory loss and improving brain health. It also decreases anxiety and provides a sense of well-being in some individuals. If the supplement doesn’t interest you, consider eating salmon or prawns, both of which are high in DHA.
2. Leafy Greens
Everyone sings the praises of leafy greens, but many of us grumble about eating them. While leafy greens such as spinach or kale aren’t always the top item on a to-eat list, they provide numerous benefits. They minimize cognitive decline and increase alertness. They also are filled with vitamins and minerals that fuel workouts and keep us strong. Try blending spinach in a fruit smoothie or eating a kale salad to improve the taste and still derive the benefits.
Both strawberries and blackberries provide a host of benefits to optimizing brain function, but blueberries take the cake. Studies show that individuals who regularly consume berries have decreased levels of depression, anxiety, and improved cognitive abilities. Blueberries also help improve energy levels and provide a sense of well-being within a couple of hours of eating them.
4. Whole Grains
Most of us love to eat carbs. And the good news is, you should and you can. Whole grains are full of amino acids such as tryptophan. This produces higher levels of serotonin in the brain, which mitigates anxiety and depression. Whole grains also contain a certain level of melatonin, which can naturally help you sleep at night. Because a good night’s rest is connected to mental well-being, whole grains are a great way to strengthen mental health.
Gut health is talked about more now than ever before. Experts believe that gut health is connected to mood and mental health disorders. Probiotic bacteria found in yogurt improves gut health, lowers stress, and improves depression symptoms in some individuals. It optimizes the transfer of neurotransmitters and also minimizes stomach problems.
6. Green Tea
Many of us drink a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, but tea may be a better option. While it is usually less caffeinated than coffee, a single cup contains more health benefits. Green tea has naturally high levels of l-theanine, which is an amino acid many people take for anxiety. L-theanine naturally increases dopamine levels and improves the regulation of emotional responses.
Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, or low energy levels? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcouneling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.