Have you had too much alcohol, been overindulging in the last few months and feel like you’re feeling a little down? Conversely, after your weekly good tomato/avocado/nut salad, you suddenly feel incredibly optimistic about life? That would be quite normal, according to science.
A proven link between mental health and healthy eating
Several studies over the years have linked our diet to our general well-being.
It is mainly in the face of depression that proper nutrition is necessary. Indeed, some foods have a beneficial effect on our brains. A deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals can then act as a severe blow to our mental health.
Researchers have shown that following a Mediterranean diet (composed of fruit, vegetables, cereals, nuts, fish and of course olive oil) would reduce the risk of depression by 33%. This type of diet, already known for countless physical benefits (cardiovascular system or diabetes), would also be proven in terms of mental health. Conversely, a sugar diet would increase the risk.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists website states that “healthy eating” also includes eating habits such as “keeping a normal weight” (not too high or too low), “keeping a stable weight” (not coming and going), or even that “eating should remain a pleasant experience.
So what are we eating?
Since we are not going to eat Greek salads at every meal, what foods can we choose to stay mentally healthy?
On your dining table, you will abuse meat, nuts, and legumes. The link between all these ingredients that seem to have nothing in common? Vitamin B, very important for our brain.
Reasonably but from time to time, red meat will be eaten. You will thus fill certain deficiencies in magnesium, zinc or iron that can promote depressive disorders.
Fish eaters will be delighted.
They will enjoy sardines and salmon without blushing when they want to. Yummy! These fish are rich in omega 3. While these fatty acids play an essential role in the cardiovascular system, they also have an impact on the brain and would be particularly useful for fighting stress or depression.
Finally, you will get plenty of vitamin D. You have probably already heard about it because it is also known to be the sun’s vitamin. Does winter depression mean anything to you? If our mood can be gloomy when we see less sunlight it is because we lack light AND vitamin D. Primordial, then? Also useful against schizophrenic disorders, you can find it in cod liver oil, milk and… dark chocolate.