Nutrition, emotions and mental health.

One of the easiest yet most profound changes we can make to improve our mental health and emotional wellbeing is through nutrition.

What we put in our bodies affects our mood, changes how our nervous system deals with stress, and influences our overall focus and energy levels.

Here are some guidelines that can help you start feeling much better soon:

-Staying hydrated is very important, if you don´t drink enough fluids you will lose focus and energy. Water is the healthiest option and teas, coffees and juices are good in moderation (as they usually contain caffeine or sugars).

-Vegetables contain most of the nutrients we need to have a good physical and mental mental health. Generally speaking vegetables growing above the ground are healthier. Broccoli, spinach and kale are one of the most nutrient dense foods. Fruits contain good nutrients but also a lot of sugar.

-Our gut has a big effect on our emotional wellbeing. If you’re stressed or anxious this can make your gut slow down or speed up.  For healthy digestion you need to have plenty of fibre, fluid and exercise regularly.

Healthy gut foods include: fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and other probiotics.

-Proteins are also very important in a healthy diet. They contain amino acids, which make up the chemicals our brain needs to regulate our thoughts and feelings. It also helps keep us feeling fuller for longer.

Protein can be found in: lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, legumes (peas, beans and lentils), soya products, nuts and seeds.

-Another essential aspect in a nutrition that promotes good mental health are healthy fats that our brain needs to function well and regulate our nervous system.

Healthy fats are found in: oily fish (sardines, salmon, anchovies), poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and coconut oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yoghurt(specially full fat greek ), cheese and eggs.

 Avoid anything which lists ‘trans fats’ or ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ in the list of ingredients (such as some shop-bought cakes and biscuits). They can be tempting when you’re feeling low, but this kind of fat isn’t good for your mood or your physical health in the long run.

If you eat more of the foods listed previously and less of the more artificial foods (wheat, sugary, fast-food) you should start noticing a better focus, calmer and more positive mood, as well as overall more energy and weight-loss. Sounds like plenty of advantages at a fork´s reach?

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