What you eat forms the basis of everything that your body does and to function at your best, it’s important to eat a diet packed full of nutrient-rich foods. With an ever increasing number of Kiwis suffering from chronic stress, anxiety and depression, it’s time to start looking to our diets to help support our mental health from the inside out. It may not solve everything, but looking at what you are putting into your body is a good place to start when it comes to supporting your mental health and happiness.
Bananas are rich in the B vitamin folate and several studies have linked low blood levels of folate and vitamins B-6 and B-12 to a decreased risk of depression. Anecdotal evidence suggests two or three a day should do the trick.
This isn’t hard science yet though, so take it with a grain of salt. But at the very least you’ll get packed full of potassium, which will lower your chances of having a stroke and also control your blood pressure.
The flavonoid anthocyanidin, found in strawberries and blueberries, has been linked to a reduction of inflammation, which in turn has been associated with decreased risk of depression.
Recent studies have shown there is a strong link between probiotics and the decrease of social anxiety. Foods such as pickles and sauerkraut are a great way to reduce anxiety, as well as add a hit of flavour to your meals.
One of the most versatile and nutrient-packed vegetables around, spinach is particularly special due to its high levels of folic acid. Folic acid has been known to reduce fatigue and depression, according to the Journal of Physiology, so start adding a bit of spinach to your meals.
4. Green Tea
A study by the American Society for Nutrition found that people who drank upwards of five cups of green tea a day had lower levels of psychological distress.
Salmon is full of Omega-3; not only does it keep your hair shiny but it also improves your mood and helps fight depression and other mental health disorders.
Lack of vitamin D has been linked with depression according to the University of Melbourne. Packed full of vitamin D, mushrooms have been hailed as a super food when it comes to fighting mental health disorders.
It’s no coincidence that you always feel sleepy after a big Christmas turkey meal. Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that prompts your brain to release serotonin – a chemical that makes you feel good, has a calming effect and even gets you ready to sleep.
According to the British Journal of Health Psychology, cross-sectional research has shown that a diet high in fruits and vegetables, such as apples, is associated with a lower lifetime prevalence of depression and anxiety.