“Focusing on ‘getting yourself in shape’ and cutting out food puts you in a negative mindset and emphasizes restriction,” says Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, LDOwner of NutriComm Inc. “The body perceives constant negative self-talk as stress, [and] a stressed body likes to cling to its resources”, adding: “Fat is a resource for our body.
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Broihier recommends that you “change to think about what you’ll gain” by eating healthier, “like better health, more energy, and a sense of well-being.” These positive thoughts make it easier to make choices that support your goals because those choices aren’t as punitive as restricting food,” Broihier continues. “Your body won’t feel stressed during the process, it will feel safe. A body that feels safe is more likely to respond better to your healthy food choices and this will help you get closer to your goal.
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Fruits and vegetables, even those that are processed (like 100% fruit juice), have been shown to benefit mental health by positively influencing quality of sleep, life satisfaction, mood, creativity, self-esteem, stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and general mental well-being, according to 2020 research in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients.
“Most people know that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for us,” says Broihier. “They provide nutrients like vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and water. These things are involved in many chemical reactions and processes in our bodies that support brain function, including feeding helpful bacteria. in our gut microbiome.
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Proper nourishment of the intestine is important for the gut-brain axis, a communication network in the body that connects the enteric and central nervous systems. Research shows that disruption of the gastrointestinal tract can alter the gut-brain relationship and negatively influence mood, cognition, and mental health.
“The gut-brain connection relies on a healthy gut microbiome,” says Broihier. “Colorful products also contain a wide variety of phytonutrients, which research has shown are linked to improved cognition, including memory, mood and executive function – essentially, our abilities to perform mental tasks. everyday.”
One study even found that eating up to 30 different types of plants per week leads to a diverse gut microbiome, which means the body has a variety of healthy bacteria that support digestion and, therefore, mental well-being.
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In addition to eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, research has shown that regular consumption of fish can improve mental health and reduce the risk of dementia. The lipids and essential fatty acids found in fish have been shown to lower the risk of depression and prevent age-related mental and cognitive decline.
Harvard Health suggests eating one or two three-ounce servings of oily fish a week — such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines — will reduce the risk of depression and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as heart disease and of cerebrovascular accident.
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According to a review by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healthfollowing an anti-inflammatory diet with a high intake of vegetables, fruits and fish was associated with a reduced risk of depression.
While fish, fruits and vegetables are important foods in an anti-inflammatory diet, incorporating other anti-inflammatory foods is essential to get a variety of nutrients such as nuts, seeds, whole grains and olive oil. Many of these foods contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to benefit mental health by boosting mood, decreasing depressive symptoms and reducing the risk of developing neurological diseases like dementia.
Conversely, it is important to reduce the consumption of inflammatory foods which can exacerbate the symptoms of depression. This includes added sugar, sodas and junk food. Experts generally recommend reducing the consumption of these foods in order to benefit mental health. Read Eating This Every Day Could Harm Your Brain Health, New Study Says