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Mind Your Health: 4 Ways Your Diet Can Help Your Mental Health
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Multiple scientific studies have found a strong link between diet and mental health. It makes sense. The brain is an organic machine that needs to have plenty of nutrition and energy to do its job effectively. When your diet is out of balance, it is easy for your brain to also get out of balance. Making changes a few changes in your diet can actually make a difference in your mental health. 

Adequate Hydration Helps Stabilize Moods and Improve Concentration

Getting adequate levels of water is essential for the body and brain to function properly. When the body reaches a level of mild dehydration, short term memory starts to slip. Motor speed and concentration levels start to drop. People report problems with cognitive abilities like information processing, executive functioning and coordination. Mood and emotions also undergo changes, with people becoming easily confused and angered. The more severe the dehydration level is, the more marked the problems become.

Taking in adequate amounts of water is an essential part of a healthy mental state. Experts recommend taking in at least 2 liters of water each day, though people who weigh more should take in more. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Reduce Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Did you know that your brain is made up of fatty acids that your body does not produce naturally? That is one reason why it is essential that you eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. When your body doesn't have enough fatty acids available, it cannot effectively perform brain repairs or process brain functions properly. This leads to problems with anxiety and depression. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are available in supplement form. But, it is far better to get them from foods. Cold water fish like salmon and mackerel are a big source, but you can also find them in seaweed and even chicken fed a healthy diet.

Lean Proteins Help Balance Serotonin Levels

When you eat food, your body breaks it down into molecular nuggets, which the body uses to create neurotransmitters. These transmitters are essential for the nervous system's ability to communicate. Proteins break down into an amino acid known as tryptophan. This amino acid helps produce serotonin, which affects mood, appetite, digestion, memory, sleep and even sexual function.

Lean proteins like fish, turkey, eggs and beans break down into amino acids easily. This gives the body the ability to produce tryptophan and serotonin at sufficient levels. This helps reduce depression and anxiety, while improving cognitive function. 

Probiotics Help Reduce Hormones Associated with Stress and Anxiety

There is actually a strong link between the amount of healthy bacteria you have in your gut and the state of your mental health. The problem is that the average American diet destroys the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. Creating an environment for the bacteria to regain its hold is essential. That means cutting down on the amount of deep fried foods and processed items is essential.

Once you have a healthy environment for bacteria, it's time to introduce new cultures by eating foods rich in probiotics. You should eat plenty of yogurt, kefir, kimchi, tempeh and pickled vegetables. These probiotics will help repopulate your gut with the healthy bacteria that help stabilize the hormones associated with stress and anxiety.

Making targeted changes to your diet will affect your mental health. Key nutrients and hydration help keep your mind sharp and focused. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics help with anxiety, depression and stress. Lean proteins produce serotonin which can stabilize moods and improve cognitive functioning. Your dietary choices will help or hurt your mental health. If you’re diet alone isn’t providing the nutrients you need, consider buying supplements from companies like Xyngular to help you round out your nutrition.

By Kara Masterson
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.


Biography: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog Max

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