October 10th was World Mental Health Day. For the past few years, we’ve seen the quality of the conversation around mental health improve: more people are opening up about their struggles, and it’s being met with more and more support and understanding. It’s inspiring to see.
Eating well is an incredibly important for maintaining good mental health. There’s a strong link between diet and depression, mood disorders and anxiety, and stress around making food choices is one extra concern we just don’t need. Here are some expert diet tips for maintaining mental healthiness from the British Mental Health Foundation.
1. Eat regularly
Eat at least three meals a day to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Missing meals can make you feel down, irritable and tired. If you feel hungry between meals, have a healthy snack like nuts or fruit.
2. Include protein in every meal
Protein contains the amino acid tryptophan, which influences the production of serotonin in the brain. Tryptophan supplements can improve mood in depressed people, but safe supplements aren’t yet on the market. Instead, get your tryptophan from protein sources like meat, fish, eggs, beans or lentils.
3. Include oily fish in your diet
The British Mental Health Foundation recommends 2-4 servings of oily fish per week to maintain the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 oils. If you’re not that into fish, you could try an omega-3 supplement, or, for vegetarians, a flax seed supplement. There are some great tips for picking omega-3 supplements in this booklet (PDF 190kb).
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Both unhealthy weight gain and unhealthy weight loss can impact your mood. A lack of good nutrition can deprive the brain of glucose and other essential nutrients that control mood, so if you’re going to lose weight, make sure you’re still getting all your essential nutrients.
Fitfood has a weight management meal plan that will help you lose weight the healthy way. We use simple, tasty wholefoods, portioned for accurate nutritional information, so you can track your calories and meet your macro-nutrient needs. The pre-made meals are designed to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain, because consistency over time is the best way to achieve results.