We all know that we have grown up hearing that we need to eat our fruits and vegies so we can grow big and strong. However, nobody ever talks about how those fruits and vegetables and water will help keep your brain healthy.
Conversely, an inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impaired decision-making, and can slow down reaction time. In fact, a poor diet can actually aggravate, and may even lead to, stress and depression.
Sugar and processed foods can lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, which may contribute to mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. When we’re feeling stressed or depressed, it’s often processed foods we reach for in search of a quick pick-me-up.
During busy or difficult periods, a cup of coffee stands in for a complete breakfast and fresh fruits and vegetables are replaced with high-fat, high-calorie fast food. When feeling down, a pint of ice cream becomes dinner.
People also tend to eat too little or too much under stress. Eat too much and you find yourself dealing with sluggishness and weight gain. Eat too little and the resulting exhaustion makes this a hard habit to break. In either case, poor diet during periods of stress and depression only makes matters worse. This cycle is a vicious one, but it can be overcome.
To boost your mental health, focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables along with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Dark green leafy vegetables in particular are brain protective. Nuts, seeds and legumes, such as beans and lentils, are also excellent brain foods.
And always, always, DRINK LOTS OF WATER CHAPS!