Nutrition, the cure for insufficient help
When one in five Americans are living with a mental health condition, and 10% of our youth have severe depression. Who do we turn to? We can’t turn to the government, even though schools fall under their jurisdiction. Politician’s job security relies on listening to the people, and it seems Americans care more about keeping taxes low and money in their pockets. Just look at the national debacle when the government tried to enact gun laws to protect kids or the debate over wearing a mask.
Help is in the kitchen
R.E.M. said it best, “When your day is long and the night, the night is yours alone. When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on.” We don’t have to wait for someone to save us. We can save ourselves. According to the Mental Health America website, the fuel we put into our body does affects our performance on every level. “We are what we eat.” I know when I put low grade fuel in my car, it chugs and guzzles through it faster—our bodies are the same. The quality of food really does matter. (https://www.mhanational.org/healthy-diet-eating-mental-health-mind).
Don’t mistake comfort for good health
“Wine is my comfort food.”BottleKeeper
While crying over a bowl of ice cream can soothe an aching heart, and a glass of wine can calm nerves, consuming it on a regular basis is unhealthy. Turning to comfort foods in large quantities will only compound depression, and everyone knows what too much alcohol leads too—regrets. On the other hand, cutting out comfort foods entirely is also a recipe for disaster. Every person who has ever tried to diet can attest to how discouraging falling off the boat feels. How often have I stood staring at a salad wishing it were a donut. Instead I try to think of my neighbor’s family mantra, “During the week—food for fuel. During the weekend—food for fun,” and above all portion control. Holding out for the weekend only to binge will drop a person into Monday like a sack of potatoes with a hangover—PASS!
Organic Malarky Myth
Eating organic is more expensive—NOPE! Whole unprepared foods like apples, carrots, raw salmon, chicken, asparagus not only cost way less than prepared meals on any given day, but they take longer to digest. The myth that eating organic is more expensive is simply not true unless you live on ramen or go for the easy quick fix “organic” prepared foods. Take a little extra time and make the meal from scratch. Eating organic is always better. Grocery stores don’t sell pesticides on the spice isle for a reason.
Food and habits that will improve Mental Health
“The first wealth is health.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Instead of expensive sugary drinks—drink more water.
- If you have anxiety, avoid caffeine loaded drinks. They can trigger panic attacks in people with anxiety.
- Don’t skip breakfast but avoid a feast first thing in the morning—it’s been proven that grazing throughout the day keeps your brain constantly fueled and as an added bonus it ramps up your metabolism.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: “People who follow this kind of diet are up to 30% less likely to develop depression than people who eat lots of meat and dairy.”
- Try adding Salmon to your diet. It’s high omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to reducing depression.
- Chicken, like turkey, contains the amino acid tryptophan which produces serotonin the vital brain chemical that manages mood, fights depression, and maintains a strong memory.
- Whole grains are the sidekick to chicken and Turkey. They help the brain absorb the tryptophan which boosts the brains’ function.
- Fill half your plate with “not-so-vege-terribles” like Avocados, Spinach, tomatoes. Pick the ones you like. Veggies are always better for you than chips. Save chips for portioned treats on the weekend.
- If you can, add nuts to your diet. They are nature’s secret little pills packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium, phenylalanine many of the chemicals your body needs for healthy brain function.
- And finally, if you can’t make it through the week without a little sweet like me, dark chocolate is your new savior, but it must be 85% cocoa. Chocolate is a miracle antioxidant.
The secret has been here for thousands of years. “Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be they food.” Hippocrates, Ancient Greek Physician in other words. ” Sources: mHnational.org and https://www.icanotes.com/2018/04/04/10-foods-that-boost-mental-health/.