What to eat for stable mental health? | Health - Hindustan Times
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What to eat for stable mental health?

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Nov 14, 2023 04:59 PM IST

Here's what to eat for a holistic approach to both physical and mental health as the two go hand in hand for a happier and healthier life.

In a world where we encounter stresses and challenges daily, maintaining a sound state of mind can be a daunting task hence, it is important to make conscious efforts to take care of our mental well-being amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There is a need to choose a holistic approach to health, encompassing both physical and mental aspects as the two go hand in hand for a happier and healthier life.

What to eat for stable mental health? (Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash)
What to eat for stable mental health? (Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Nutritionist Nupuur Patil, talked about why moving the body is important and said, “Physical activity has more to do than just helping you look fit; it also improves your mental health. Regular exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, and reduces stress hormones. Activities like jogging, swimming, or cycling increase blood flow to the brain and promote the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which enhances mood.”

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She added, “Also, building muscle can boost confidence and self-esteem, contributing to a positive self-image and overall mental well-being. Indulging in mind-body exercises like Yoga, tai chi and Pilates combine physical activity with mindfulness techniques, reducing stress and improving mental clarity. In addition, deep breathing exercises and meditation are valuable tools to combat anxiety and stress.”

Pro-tip: When feeling overwhelmed, make time for self-care, such as enjoying a warm bath, reading a book, or spending time in nature, to rejuvenate your mind and soul.

Talking about social connections, Nupuur Patil said, “Loneliness and social isolation can have a detrimental impact on mental health. The remedy is to cultivate strong relationships, connect with friends and family, and seek support when needed. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a confidant can provide solace during difficult times.”

What to Eat for Stable Mental Health?

Nupuur Patil suggested, "The adage, "You are what you eat," holds more truth than you might think when it comes to mental health. Nutrient-rich foods play a significant role in brain function and mood regulation. Incorporating a balanced and rainbow diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can have a profound impact on your mental well-being. Foods like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety."

She added, “Besides, complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, can help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide a steady source of energy, reducing mood swings. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which can help combat the oxidative stress associated with mental health disorders. An increasing number of studies have established the connection between mental health and gut health. Incorporating probiotics through foods like yoghurt or fermented vegetables can promote a healthy gut microbiome (microbes residing inside our gut), positively impacting mood and cognition.”

She concluded, “Taking care of our mental health is as crucial as our physical health. By nourishing our bodies with the right foods, staying active, practising mindfulness, nurturing social connections, and seeking professional guidance when needed, we can pave the way for a happier and healthier life. Remember that it is okay to ask for help and that small, consistent changes in our lifestyle can lead to significant improvements in our mental well-being.”

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