Diet and Mental Health: Can What You Eat Affect Your Brain?

Your brain never catches a break. It’s always on, always working to keep you alive and functioning the right way.

Even when you’re asleep, your brain works double time. And all of this work requires some kind of fuel, right?

Food is that fuel. And just like with your car, the better quality fuel you put into it, the better the machine is going to run. Sure, a car can run off of the bare minimum in terms of quality, but that doesn’t mean it’ll run to the best of its ability. Your brain is exactly like that.

Diet and mental health go hand in hand. Because your brain isn’t just in charge of your physical body, it’s in charge of your mental wellbeing as well.

Diet and Mental Health

Your body creates a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin works to help you sleep, eat, regulate your mood, and lower your pain levels.

But where does your body create serotonin?

The vast majority of your serotonin comes from your gastrointestinal tract. It would make sense, then, that the food that you eat (that then travels through your gastrointestinal tract) would help to manage your emotions.

Good Bacteria

Another thing that influences neurotransmitters like serotonin is the level of good bacteria in your intestines.

These good bacteria are the heart of a lot of your body’s function, like allowing you to absorb your food properly and limiting the amount of inflammation your body experiences.

But they also improve your body’s ability to transmit signals back and forth between your brain and your belly.

In fact, there are studies that show that probiotics can improve anxiety, stress perception, and overall outlook.

Even more than that, studies show that people who eat “western” diets show a much higher risk of depression over those who eat diets like the Japanese diet or the Mediterranean diet.

What Should You Do?

One of the major benefits of more traditional diets, like those that people in the Mediterranean eat, is that they have a lot more veggies, fruit, seafood, and unprocessed grain. They don’t eat a lot of meat or dairy and processed sugars are virtually non-existent.

Another wonderful benefit of these traditional diets is the prevalence of fermentation for much of the food. Fermentation is a way to pack a lot of good bacteria into your diet.

The great thing about this news is that it’s not hard to improve your diet and mental health. All you have to do is ensure that you’re eating the right foods. Put the good fuel into your body, not the bad stuff.

You could also try increasing the fermented foods that you eat! Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha are delicious additions to any diet and they’ll help your gut health and in turn your mental health.

Providing the Keys to Vibrant Health

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do for your body treats it with kindness. Self-care is big right now in popular culture and we often see self-care as treating ourselves to the occasional rich desserts and sleeping in. And sure! This has a place in a balanced life.

But self-care also means putting the best nutrition into your body. Eat vitamin rich foods, take care of your gut health, and your mental health will follow. Because diet and mental health are closely linked. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel!

For more information about how you can live your healthiest life, visit our website today.