Updated: Aug 18
I discussed on the healthy foods that are important in mental health. So, what is that you should avoid?
Warning: there might be some disappointing news here! 😄 ( JUST KIDDING)
Sugar is the enemy of the brain. Simple sugar, corn syrup, excess honey, maple syrup etc. can be very bad for a healthy mind. It can cause depression, anxiety, addiction, learning issues and memory problems.
Substitutes like jaggery, organic sugar, coconut paste can be used for a healthy diet.
2. Soft drinks and Diet soda
Soft drinks including canned fruit juices are also associated with depression, stress-related problems, suicidal ideation, psychological distress and a current mental health condition.
Aspartame in diet sodas causes behavioural and cognitive problems.
Energy drinks can really mess with your body. It produces increased heartbeat, sleep problems, increased aggression, anxiety, substance abuse. Having healthy drinks like fresh fruit juices and natural juices can be better for health.
3. Processed food
Processed food includes food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged and preserved.
We cannot avoid every processed food. But highly processed food- meat products, such as bacon, sausage, ham, salami and paté, high-fat cheese, tinned vegetables, savoury snacks such as crisps, sausage rolls, pies and pasties and french fries can have a major effect on our body and are associated with increased depression and often anxiety ( I know it's hard!).
Avoiding a high amount of canned tuna can be a saviour. It contains mercury that can act as a toxin in the brain causing tremors, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular effects etc.
4. Trans fat
I spoke about the good fat that should be included in a healthy diet. Now let me share on the bad fat.
It consists mainly of trans fat and saturated fat. Other than major heart disease, hypertension and obesity, it can also lead to Alzheimer's, poor memory, cognitive decline, inflammation in the brain, worsening the signs of depression etc. Processed baked goods, such as cakes, cookies and pies, burgers, fries etc contain trans fat.
Vegetable oils group: soybean oil corn oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil etc. are generally used in food. But they are associated with depression and Alzheimer's disease. Using olive oil and coconut oil will be a healthier choice.
5. Refined carbs
When carbs are good for a healthy brain, refined carbs like white bread, crackers, white pasta etc. are linked with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. In some countries, white bread and white rice are the main sources of energy. Limiting the amount taken or switching to brown rice or whole-grain bread is good for body and mind.
Alcohol can make you feel relaxed. It can even help you to be more out-going. But, when the alcohol content in the blood increases, the benefits start to reverse itself. Alcohol is connected to many major diseases. Alcohol is a depressant and it can aggravate the signs of depression and anxiety. It can induce stress, panic attack and worsen mental disorders. It can even cause addiction.
7. Red meat
Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb, veal etc. People who consume red meat can develop depression, anxiety, and/or self-harm behaviours and Alzheimer's. Having white meat or lean beef or pork can be a portion of better healthy food.
8. Soy sauce
Soy sauce is used in noodles, fried rice and many East Asian dishes. It has high contact with sodium which makes it very bad for health and people who consume soy sauce have higher risks for emotional health causing anxiety and depression. Too much sodium in food can create confusion, irritability, seizures, mental decline and even coma.
“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
So what to do now?
I am not suggesting that you should stop having the above-mentioned foods. But controlling the quantity and the frequency of intake is advisable. How can you do that?
🍓Keep a schedule of the food you eat for a balanced diet
🍓Keep motivational notes in the kitchen and bedroom
🍓Try to avoid eating food from outside.
🍓Experiment new healthy dishes from youtube, food blogs, Instagram etc.
🍓Have more protein-rich food, it can reduce the craving for processed food and alcohol.
🍓Workout more, it can motivate you to stick to a healthy diet.
Any particular diet?
Many studies unanimously show that the Mediterranean diet is healthy for the body and mental well-being. Mediterranean diet includes mainly vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains. Meals are built around these plant-based foods. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs are also central to the Mediterranean Diet, as is seafood. Red meat is hardly included in it.
Researchers claim that people on the Mediterranean diet had 33% lower chances for depression than those who were on the "Western diet".
Have a look at the above Healthy Eating Pyramid by the Harvard School of Public Health. It shows healthy habits and healthy foods to be included in life.
So, this shows how important it is to have a balanced and healthy diet for mental health. In some countries, quarantine is still running. During this period many are not conscious about what they eat and end up binge-eating and eating mindlessly. This is a wake-up call for mindful eating and to promote habits for a healthy mind and a healthy body.
After all, You Are What You Eat.
Here are some amazing recipes from The Mediterranean Movement. The Mediterranean Movement was founded to help families optimize their health and well being. By providing mouth-watering, family-friendly recipes and science-backed nutritional information in line with Mediterranean Diet principles, they help you effortlessly and deliciously enhance your family’s way of eating. You can read more on delicious recipes and the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle on www.themedimove.com.
What are the foods good for a strong and happy mind?
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(Copyright © 2008. For more information about The Healthy Eating Pyramid, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,www.thenutritionsource.org, and Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, by Walter C. Willett, M.D., and Patrick J. Skerrett (2005), Free Press/Simon & Schuster Inc.”)