Healthy Eating for Physical and Mental Health
We all know how important healthy eating is for the body, but did you know that it also helps the mind? Those with mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, may not be eating as healthfully as they should, yet doing so may improve symptoms.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) recently reported:
There are many benefits to eating healthy, and they aren’t all physical. Eating healthy is just as important to mental health as it is to physical health. Research linking diet and mental health shows that food—along with other factors—plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Alzheimer’s disease.
Of course, this is all a lot easier said than done. How many people without the struggle of mental illness find themselves eating too much, late at night, to stave off emotions, or foods that are convenient or cheap but have little nutritional value? Eating healthfully is a tall order, and an important one to improve mental functioning.
What are some simple things that you can do to improve your eating habits?
- Eat regularly. When we are depressed or anxious, it can be difficult to eat at regular intervals. But not eating regularly produces binge eating. Try to eat something every few hours.
- Stop the fast food. It’s easy to be tempted by the convenience and low cost of fast food, but the fact of the matter is the calories are empty. If you want a burger, eat a delicious, organic one you cook yourself. You don’t need all the garbage calories.
- Don’t eat after dinner. It’s tempting to want to eat before bed. Some crave something salty. Others prefer something sweet. Don’t give in. The craving will soon pass.
- Eat a piece of fruit. Fruit is a delicious snack that is portable and will help with sugar cravings. Keep fruit or nuts on hand so that you have something healthy to choose when hunger levels amp up.