Did you know that 95% of serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitter) is produced in the gastrointestinal tract? There are increasing studies that demonstrate the positive connection and outcome of consuming certain foods for mental health. Yet, for all the research and data to prove the impact healthy foods can have in influencing mental balance and reducing depression, how many people know the right type of eating habits to implement?
Eating “mindfully” can be more difficult than expected. Employees with busy, full lives are often hard-pressed for time. Creating healthy menus, let alone figuring out what’s needed at the grocery store can feel like an uphill battle. And, with vending machines often filled with chips and candy, it’s all the more easy to grab an unhealthy snack.
At Wellworks For You, we’ve been able to help employees just like you, find ways to maximize health and wellness through nutrition strategies. Health coaching is an example of one of the most effective ways to help empower better-eating patterns in the workplace (and home)!
Seven Foods For Mental Health Your Entire Inner Circle Will Want to Know About
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety disorders impose one-trillion dollars in lost productivity to the global economy every year. For this reason, and additional research-driven data on the effects of poor mental health in the workplace, employees, and employers are taking mental health seriously.
With more knowledge about how the foods we eat affect our mental state, resources for healthy eating habits have become a priority.
At Wellworks For You, for example, we offer health coaching as a way to help provide employees with valuable nutritional insights and initiatives. While healthy foods can certainly encourage positive weight management goals, the right kind of foods can also help various aspects of your mental health (depression, anxiety, and even memory).
The following foods for mental health and wellness are a sample of what a health coach can offer you to help incorporate more good-mood foods:
Wild-caught fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s support the synapses in the brain in connection with dopamine and serotonin. Symptoms of schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been shown to improve from regular doses of omega-3s.
Spinach, romaine, mustard greens, broccoli, and turnips are rich in folic acid. When individuals don’t receive enough folate, the byproduct can be depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
Foods rich in vitamin B, like bananas, help the body produce serotonin. Replace a soda or candy bar with a banana during a workday afternoon lull to lighten your mood!
For more vitamin B and a heavy dose of folate, you can’t beat beets. Folate deficiency not only causes depression, but some studies suggest that anti-depressants may not work as effectively either.
Many yogurts contain probiotics. Probiotics are full of healthy “live” bacteria and yeasts. Studies have shown that probiotics are helpful in reducing anxiety levels, mental outlook, and stress.
Blueberries are natural short-term memory boosters. In one controlled study, blueberries were also linked to slower cognitive decline in older women. Whenever possible, it’s best to eat them fresh! Freezing blueberries can diminish their health-potency benefits.
If fermented cabbage isn’t one of your favorite items—don’t worry. Any type of fermented food or drink such as kombucha, kefir, ginger beer, or miso contain a beneficial bacteria called “lactobacilli.” This good bacteria has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.
Are There Foods Bad For Mental Health?
Just as some foods encourage balance in mental health, other consumables can do the opposite. For example, there is much evidence to support the negative impact of junk food and mental health.
Refined sugars, trans fats, processed grains, and other processed foods have been linked with mental conditions such as depression, memory issues (including Alzheimer’s Disease), anxiety, and more. So instead of chips, dips, sour gummies, and sugar-packed treats, grab yourself a snack from the list above!
More Strategies for Mindful Eating Habits
In addition to the seven foods for mental health balance listed above, many dieticians and health professionals are guiding patients to a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, lean meats, and fermented foods.
For more about nutrition and mental health; the importance of diet in depression, reach out to one of our Wellworks For You experts now! We’re excited to share how our workplace wellness programs help transform lives and improve health and wellness (in every area of your life)!
Reach out any time by calling 800-425-4657.