You already know that your mood can affect what you eat.
Oftentimes when we’re upset, stressed out, or nervous, we reach for food to offer us comfort.
You know… “emotional eating.”
And more often than not, what we’re reaching for is not the healthiest of foods. Ice cream… chips… foods you can really binge on.
But what about the reverse situation?
Can what we eat impact how we feel? Can we ease depression, anxiety… or even stress with our diet?
Some mental health experts believe the answer is “absolutely.”
Research on the topic is fairly limited.
One of the first trials to test whether dietary changes can help treat depression was published just a couple of years ago.
In this study, participants were divided into two groups.
One group received coaching on following a Mediterranean diet. The other group received general coaching.
After 12 weeks, the group that followed the Mediterranean diet reported improvements in mood and lower anxiety levels. The other group that received just general coaching showed no such benefits.
So, what’s so special about the Mediterranean diet that can make such an impact on mental health?
There’s some speculation that the high amounts of fiber-rich, leafy vegetables in the Mediterranean diet holds the key.
You see, there’s some research suggesting that a healthy gut is important in the processing of “feel-good” neurotransmitters like serotonin that regulate mood.
But could it be something else about the Mediterranean diet that’s leading to healthier mental health?
The Mediterranean diet is heavy on seafood.
And seafood is one of the best sources for two absolutely essential nutrients for a healthy brain… omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12.
Now, I’m not saying there’s no connection between gut health and mood.
I absolutely believe that there is one.
I just know from personal experience and the research I’ve read that fiber isn’t the holy grail of digestive health many “health experts” make it out to be.
Other research has found increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables results in more happiness, satisfaction with life, and better well-being.
Interestingly, one of those trials found mental health benefits from fresh fruits and vegetables, but not canned varieties.
The researchers speculated that this was due to the fact that certain vitamins in fresh produce are vulnerable to heat degradation.
Bottomline with all this research… to benefit your mental health, you should focus your diets that lift you up from within… fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood.
These are the foods that offer lasting health benefits, not the temporary comfort (and later regret) of sugary, fatty, over-processed “comfort foods.”
Editor, Patriot Health Alliance