We’ve all experienced the impact of an indulgent weekend on not just our physical selves, but on our moods too – with a few too many brewskis and 1am pizza deliveries leaving us feeling sluggish, tired and irritable come Monday morning. And there’s more than anecdotal evidence to support this too, with various studies showing the correlation between our diets and our mental health. Although not a replacement for therapy or medication, food can be a great lifestyle tool for boosting your overall mental wellbeing and is one of the simplest ways to practice self-care. So, here’s our top tips on how to fill your plate for better mental health:
Eat, Eat & Eat Again
Irregular meals, especially heavy ones full of quick-releasing carbohydrates (think sugary snacks and plain white carb-fests), will send your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride, leaving you feeling tired and irritable. So instead, try to eat smaller portions of slower-releasing carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats or quinoa, paired with healthy fats and proteins, at regular intervals throughout the day. This will help you feel fuller for longer, as well as more mentally stable!
Dial Back The Coffee
It’s no secret we’re major coffee nuts here at Neat, but despite this blogpost being fuelled by an oat milk flat white, if you suffer from anxiety, drinking a lot of coffee isn’t going to do you any favours. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it can give you a quick energy burst, but this will likely be followed by a sharp crash. It can also heighten physical symptoms of anxiety, such as having a racing heart and thoughts, and struggling to sleep at night.
That’s right, your favourite salmon supper can do wonders for your brain health! Foods such as salmon, mackerel and walnuts are known to be high omega 3’s, which will help support brain functioning, and can even help to reduce symptoms of depression.
Eat Your Greens
Mum’s are always right, and there’s good reason she always moaned at you to eat your greens. Dark, leafy vegetables – like kale, spinach and swiss chard - are some of the most nutrient-dense veggies you can get. Containing a whole host of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, they’re essential for you to feel your best in both body and mind.
Lean Mean Proteins
The amino acid typtophan is to thank for keeping your serotonin (aka your happy hormone) levels balanced, which you can get by plenty of lean protein. So a great way to boost your mood is to up your plate with protein sources such as white fish, chicken, whey protein and tofu.