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What are Some of the Right Foods You Should Eat to Support Mental Health

by Carolyn Lee Apr 19, 2022

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Our diet should support our physical health and mental health. Some foods can negatively affect our health, inadvertently resulting in stress, anxiety, and depression. Eating a healthy and balanced diet can improve our mood, alertness, concentration, and attention span.

We’ve curated a list of some foods that you should eliminate from your diet. We’ve also included tips on foods you can eat to improve mental health.

Foods to eliminate from your diet

Processed foods: These foods can minimise cooking times and make life easier, but processed foods can be harmful to our bodies. Frozen meals, deli meats, and fast food often contain several artificial ingredients, trans and saturated fats, nitrates, and sodium.

Fried foods: Consuming too much food high in saturated fat can hurt our health. Some foods high in saturated fat are challenging for the body to digest and could increase the risk of anxiety, low mood, and depression.

Simple carbohydrates: These are sugars, which are naturally present in milk, while some, like raw sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar, etc., are added to foods. Baked treats, sodas, packaged cookies, fruit juice concentrate, and breakfast cereals contain simple carbohydrates you should avoid.

Sugary drinks and foods: Sugary foods and drinks can give us a temporary mood boost. However, you may feel tired, empty, and low after. Sweetened coffee beverages, sweets, candy, and soda are items to avoid. Pay attention to your caffeine intake since too much caffeine can cause insomnia and trigger panic attacks in people with anxiety disorders.

Bonus: Skipping meals can result in irritability and brain fog, so eat regularly. Start the day with a healthy breakfast or snack if you’re rushing. Avoid eating fried, high-fat dairy, refined and sugary foods for lunch. These types of food lack nutritional value and could increase the risk of depression.

Tips on how to eat for mental health

Are You Eating the Right Types of Food to Support Your Mental Health
  1. Take care of your gut by including probiotics, vegetables, fruits, and beans into your diet. Your gut can reflect what you’re feeling. So, if you’re stressed, it can speed up or slow down.
  2. Fruits, whole grains, and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals your brain and body need, so include them in your diet.
  3. Eat regularly to prevent your blood sugar level from dropping, as this can make you feel tired and irritable.
  4. Even slight dehydration can affect energy levels, concentration, and mood; stay hydrated.
  5. Focus on including the right balance of fats by adding nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocados, oily fish, milk, and eggs to your diet. Avoid processed or packaged foods that contain trans-fat, which can negatively affect your mood and be bad for heart health.
  6. Protein contains amino acids that our brain uses to help regulate our mood, so add some protein to your meals.

The content of this article is for informational purposes. Always consult your doctor, nutritionist, or dietician before making any changes to your diet. Use our Find Yello listings to search for general practitioners, health specialists, nutritionists, or related services near you.

Sources: Eating Well, Mental Health America, Ethos Clinic, Aetna, and Mental Health Foundation.