Your brain and your stomach are connected. By eating healthier, you can help yourself feel better and prevent negative mental health episodes.
Food has an incredible power over our bodies, providing us with energy but also affecting our moods, stress levels and even our mental health. While doctors in this part of the world don’t focus on lifestyle changes, everyone can benefit from a healthier diet and from making decisions that are more health conscious.
The pandemic has put mental health in the forefront of our minds. With so much stress surrounding us, it’s important to take care of our mental and physical health, using all the tools at our disposal as best as we can. This includes the food we eat.
Food is no substitute for medicine, but it can help you feel better. Author and psychiatrist Uma Naidoo explained to the Huffington Post that food is one mechanism that can help people prevent and cope with negative symptoms.
Naidoo explains the strong connection that exists between the brain and the stomach. When we’re stressed out or anxious, it’s common to feel nausea or a fluttering in our stomachs, which can confuse our bodies. The vagus nerve, which is part of our central nervous systems and controls our moods, digestion, and more, is responsible for this connection,
“It’s not just as glib as you are what you eat, but that specific foods have either a positive effect or a negative effect,” said Naidoo.
Knowing the types of foods that affect us positively sounds more complicated than it is; by leaning towards fruits and veggies and other plants, you’ll provide your body with vitamins, mineral and antioxidants. Try to have vegetables with every meal, adding them in to dishes in creative ways in needed. Prebiotics and probiotics are also healthy, promoting the growth of good gut bacteria. These include yogurts and other fermented foods, like cheese, miso and kombucha.
If eating healthy gets confusing, limit your intake of fried and processed foods. Fast foods may be delicious and serve a certain purpose during our busy lives, but they cause the bad bacteria in your gut flare up, making it more likely for your belly to produce symptoms similar to those of anxiety and depression.
When battling these symptoms, try to eliminate all of the noise that’s in your body. Pinpoint the source of whatever is making you feel down, whether that’s a mental health issue or a physical one.