The Connection Between Nutrition and Mental Health
Have you ever been hangry? It’s a real thing that runs deep. The link between our belly’s and our brain is real. Stress eating is a thing, and so is a sore stomach when we’re suffering from anxiety.
The digestive system is directly linked to our brains, and our emotional center within the brain.
In this article, we’re going to take a deeper dive into this arena, and look at how you can improve your mental health and wellbeing with food.
Two of the main hormones produced in our body are serotonin and dopamine. Leading research is finding these hormones are produced in the gut before being transferred to the brain.
Dopamine is the reward hormone, the good feeling you get after you’ve achieved something good, and releases feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and motivation.
Serotonin controls your mood and is responsible for happiness, and also controls your appetite. It is vital to maintain a healthy diet in order to keep production of these hormones at an optimal level.
They are both involved with fighting depression, and maintaining a good mental health.
Fast Food Fast Mood
Fast food has been designed to hit our reward centers like a sledgehammer. The extreme levels of sodium and sugar trigger a huge rush of dopamine, the reward hormone discussed above.
Just by thinking it you can taste that burger with the secret sauce, the side of chips, and monstrous cooldrink. That’s how effective the designers, chefs and marketers have been in creating what is essentially an addictive substance for mass consumption.
The euphoria you feel while eating fast food is no lie, however the crash you feel soon after is no joke either. These foods offer little to no nutritional value, and are packed with unwanted and unhealthy ingredients. If you are in the mood for a cheat day, rather choose a healthier option than running off to the golden arches.
A Gut Feeling
There are billions and billions of bacteria in your gut, and these are being shown to have a direct link to our mental health. We are in turn responsible for feeding these little guys, and it’s in our best interest to keep them happy, fed and healthy.
A healthy gut biome is essential in keeping a more positive mindset, and there is a great range of foods shown to directly and positively impact the gut biome. Foods such as salmon, full of omega 3, and yogurt, packed full of probiotics, are loved by gut bacteria. These foods also help in keeping the ‘right’ bacteria in our guts.
Balance is Everything
A balanced diet is not only necessary for keeping our bodies running in top form, but our minds too. A balanced diet including things such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats is the key.
Mixing it up too staves away the boredom and irritation if you get caught in a gym diet repeat cycle. Your lunch shouldn’t be grilled chicken breasts, rice and steamed vegetables everyday.
Try to reduce, if not remove, processed foods altogether. Often the processing of our foods strips them of vital nutrients and vitamins.
Vitamin supplements are a huge topic, and a massive industry. They’re often described as expensive urine, as your body will flush out excess vitamins very quickly. If your diet consists of enough fruits and vegetables, vitamin supplements become an expensive waste.
Vitamin supplements should really only be taken by those who truly need them.
Vitamin A & B can be found in liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products, vitamin C in citrus fruits, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, and potatoes, and vitamin D is found in fish, eggs, beans and oatmeal. And vitamin D production is also supercharged by time in the sun, but don’t forget your sunscreen.
Our Body20 members have direct access to our in-house Nutrition Doctors, who are experts in their fields. We view the body as an ecosystem, and at Body20, we are here to help you take care of not just your physique and ideal body, but your diet and mental health too.
It’s all interlinked, and creates a positive feedback loop. Give us a shout, and let us help you set up a diet and exercise plan that will not only get you looking better, but feeling happier, more relaxed, and more motivated to help you hit the ground running in every aspect of your life.
Body20 is an all-encompassing, holistic approach to physical, and mental well-being. The mind & body are an ecosystem, and we understand the value of taking care of it all.
Body20 members get access to Nutrition Doctors and Wellness Coaches to assist in improving the quality of their lives. To find out more, book your free demo at your nearest Body20 Studio.