Our understanding of the link between what we eat and how we feel is really not new (and I have previously posted about the food-mood link), but this article clearly describes some of the recent research findings in this area. I like these simple “rules” for eating that may assist with managing anxiety and depression symptoms. Doesn’t it make sense to make these simple changes to our lifestyles – it keeps our bodies healthy and helps us feel better in our mood also!
The golden rules
Along with their healthy recipes, Kelly and Macintosh’s work led them to devise a list of 10 rules to shape dietary behaviour and help with mental health:
- Eat mostly plants. Veggies and legumes are nutrient and fibre rich.
- Use plenty of herbs and spices. Particularly turmeric and saffron — the rules aren’t called “golden” for nothing.
- Go nuts! Kelly points to research that says nuts help with your mood. (And the play on words is irresistible.)
- Eating for your gut. That is, managing the bacterial balance in your stomach and intestines — keep that second brain happy and healthy.
- Fats are your friend. Healthy fats, like the aforementioned omega-3s, are thought to have a positive influence on parts of the brain linked to depression.
- Getting the right balance of protein. Kelly suggests that we throw our lot in with good proteins like fish and lean meat and avoid highly processed meat products.
- Avoid sweeteners and additives. Again, highly processed food has been linked to poor mental health.
- Keep an eye on your blood sugar. This has all kinds of benefits and is never remiss.
- Vary your diet. The average Western diet consists of around 20 ingredients, whereas ancestral humans probably ate more like 150.
- Relax and enjoy. We can’t forget the benefits of eating as a social and recreational activity — there’s a reason pretty much every culture focuses their celebrations around food.