Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
How To Care For Your Mental Health With Nutrition
Published Feb 27th, 2021 & updated on Jan 19th, 2022
Nutrition and mental health have been connected for yearssss and yearssss. You’ve probably seen article after article about eating right, what vitamins and supplements you should take, and what foods contain what benefits. These articles are usually published in the magazines that sit in a bin in the bathroom of your mom’s house. But are these bathroom-bin magazines right!? Actually, some of them are.
Proper nutrition is super important when it comes to brain health. And what’s brain health connected to? MENTAL HEALTH! Look at you go, you got the first question right!
How Mental Health Is Connected To Nutrition
Time for a metaphor that you’ve definitely heard before! (omg that rhymed)
Imagine that your body is a car. A car can’t run without fuel, right? And a car can’t run with the wrong kind of fuel, right? The fuel we put into our bodies impacts how it functions – that includes the brain. We need the right kind of fuel in our bodies because our brain is always working and it needs to be supported.
One of the biggest ways that food influences mental health is when it comes to eating disorders. A person’s relationship with food becomes damaged, and their mental and physical health suffers because of it. Depression and anxiety are also impacted by a person’s relationship with food. The food you eat might not be the direct cause of your mental health struggles, but it can definitely influence an already existing issue.
When we’re in the midst of a battle with our brain, we’re more likely to choose foods that don’t really nourish our body. And when we don’t eat or don’t eat the right kind of foods, we end up feeling worse physically. Here are some not-so-great things that happen when we’re not eating right:
– Skipping meals makes us stressed and hangry
– Blood sugar and energy level drop and impact moods
– Brain fog
– Feeling cold
– Lack of energy
If that’s not a long enough list to help you realize that your belly needs some good shit to send to your brain, we might need to make a longer list!
What Food Is Good For Your Brain
So, we’ve told you that you need to eat well. You’re probably thinking “Cool, but how do I do that?” Obviously, you know all about the food pyramid and what it means to have a balanced diet, but we’re going to talk about something else – food for thought! Get it? Because food impacts your mind! These vitamins and elements found in food are some of the things that impact our mental wellness and brain health:
– Vitamin D: Activates enzymes that produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Norepinephrine impacts your sleep cycle and influences focus, and memory. Dopamine influences things like pleasure, desire, mood, and motivation.
– Antioxidants: Prevents oxidative stress and memory loss.
– Omega 3: There has been some evidence suggesting that Omega 3’s can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain which can improve brain function and health, and reduce memory loss!
– Fibre: Promotes good bacteria in your gut and can potentially help reduce anxiety.
– Carbs: Important to help keep your blood sugar levels elevated. Low blood sugar impacts your mood, attention, focus, and can make you feel sluggish.
– Vitamin B: Has been seen to help with depression and anxiety! There are a number of B vitamins that have different benefits. Vitamin B5 supports adrenal gland function (helping reduce anxiety), and Vitamin B9 and vitamin B12 can help balance out depressive moods.
All of these can be found in nutritious food options. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep eating chips and hummus (lol we basically live on that), but just make sure that you throw in some apples and spinach in your diet every now and again to help your brain out.
How To Incorporate Good Shit Into Your Diet
When we’re having a hard time mentally, we don’t always eat the healthiest things, and that’s ok (see above admission about chips and hummus)! What you’re experiencing is hard on both your body and mind. Making a meal isn’t always possible, so you go for the easiest things to eat (again, chips and hummus).
You are absolutely allowed to eat however you want and need to. What’s important is that you have food in your body. But there are easy-to-make, healthy options that you can have on hand, and smoothies are a perfect way to get some important shit in your belly!
Our favourite option? Smoothies from Evive Nutrition! We love them because you can make these smoothies without a blender! You pop out the little triangles, put them in a glass, then shake it up! It’s an easy and healthy way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet when your body needs a boost.
They also have some really simple and easy lunch options that you can make too! Macaroni and cheese? Yep! Tom Thai? You betcha! The best part about their meals and smoothies is that they’re packed full of organic produce and essential nutrients. Plus, they’re all plant-based, so your lactose-intolerant tummy will thank you!
Do your best to include healthy foods that will get you the nutrients you need to support your sweet little brain. Just know that there is no rush or expectation for you to change however you’re nourishing your body right now. You do what you gotta do, baby!
*This article is sponsored by Evive Nutrition Inc.