This Sunday is World Mental Health day, and here at Raw Press, we see the direct important link between eating well and improving your overall mental health. These days, what we eat is often overlooked on the quest for 'self-care'. Face masks and meditation aside, what you are putting into your body primarily affects your mood and how you feel.
How does Food affect how we feel?
Our mood is determined by the hormone Serotonin, which regulates our happiness and anxiety. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which means that it sends messages to our brain. Studies have shown that 95% of the body's serotonin is produced in the gut, which is filled with nerve endings.
Therefore, the food we eat, plays a large role in how we are feeling. Foods that contribute to good gut health are proven to boost our mood and leave us feeling happier. You can try to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and other probiotics into your diet to ease digestion and improve gut health.
What kinds of foods should I be eating?
This is where the whole grains come in. Brown rice, quinoa, and millet are all complex carbohydrates which keep you full and feeling energised for longer than if you fill up on sugary, processed food.. If you struggle to eat large portions, you can eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
Food that gives us energy and therefore improves our brain function, such as nuts, seeds, lentils, chickpeas and tofu.
Omega-3 Fatty acids
They are super important for the proper function of your brain and nervous system. You can find them in walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, edamame, seaweed
How to Sustain Eating for your Mind
Plan your meals in advance & avoid buying food when hungry
If you have a clear idea of what you are cooking, and you're not running into the supermarket starving, you're less likely to be tempted into buying processed, sugary food.
Carry nourishing snacks
Get creative! You can prepare snacks for yourself in advance, or stock up on snacks that will sustain you and give you some energy when you're feeling a little low. At Raw Press, we are somewhat snack professionals; check out our raw vegan snacks here.
Try to practice mindfulness around eating
Eating is vital for us to survive as humans, therefore it is important that we honour our meal times and stay as present as possible to the food we are eating. If you have worked away for hours in the kitchen preparing yourself a meal, take a couple of moments before you eat to reflect and thank yourself for the time you took to nourish yourself properly, instead of rushing to check Instagram or watching Netflix.