Food and nutrition play a crucial role in our overall health and well-being. While most of us know that a balanced diet can help us maintain physical health, what we may not realize is that our food and nutrient choices can also affect our mental health and mood.
Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between the food we eat and our emotional state. In fact, research suggests that certain nutrients and dietary patterns can have a significant impact on mental wellness, including reducing the risk of depression and anxiety, improving cognitive function, and boosting our overall mood.
According to Statistics Canada, 46% of Canadians say their perceived stress level is somewhat or much worse than before the pandemic.
Food and nutrition can impact multiple processes that influence our mood and behaviour. These also affect our brain processes, including higher-level cognition, such as social decision-making. This means that you may be able to support better mood and mental wellness by being selective with what you choose to eat.
In this article, we explore four things you can do to help reduce anxiety and better manage your mood and provide tips and recommendations for incorporating nutrient-rich foods into your diet to support your mental well-being.
Balance mood and anxiety with help from magnesium
The mineral magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical functions in the body. Most notably, magnesium plays a role in helping us calm the nervous system and find a night of better sleep. It’s also involved in the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps control sleep and wake cycles.
Help from healthy fats
Getting enough healthy fats does so many wonders for the body and mind. Foods like avocados, walnuts, ground flax, organic eggs and wild fish are thought to support mood regulation, blood sugar regulation, sleep and energy levels. These foods may help keep our cognitive and emotional health in check since they can affect our hormonal system.
Find calm with help from adaptogenic herbs
Ashwagandha is an exciting adaptogenic herb that is well studied and proven to be beneficial for stress and anxiety and overall enhancement of well-being. It can be used for acute stress, which is great for someone experiencing anxiety, or long-term use for someone experiencing chronic stress.
Get enough zinc
The hippocampus, an area of the brain, controls learning and mood and contains some of the highest zinc concentrations in the body. One study on 100 female high school students found that zinc deficiency may negatively affect mood. The best food sources of zinc include oysters, red meat and poultry. Pumpkin seeds, legumes and other plant-based foods also offer high amounts of zinc.
Remember, by incorporating these mood-boosting foods and nutrients into your diet can have a significant impact on your mental wellness and overall quality of life.