Eating to Support Mental Health

Eating to support mental health, Renaissance FlavorsEating to Support Mental Health

The push to destigmatize mental health conditions, neurodivergencies, and psychological disabilities has led to an increased interest in how our mental and physical health interact. This interest has spurred the creation of nutritional psychology as a study and practice. 

Nutritional psychology looks at the physical damage caused by malnutrition and free radicals resulting in or corresponding with the presentation of psychological symptoms. With what we now know about neurology and nutrition, it seems common sense that a brain will experience consequences when it is not properly fed, but this gut-brain connection was largely ignored by most of medicine until recent years. 

One of the most important neurochemicals that has been linked to food for quite some time is serotonin. The neurotransmitter helps to regulate a host of vital functions in the body such as sleep, appetite, pain tolerance, and mood. The majority of serotonin is produced in the gut, because of this, gastrointestinal health, especially the prevalence of good vs bad bacteria in the gut, has a major impact on serotonin and, therefore, on mental health as well.  

So how can you eat to support your mental health? Well, as with nearly everything to do with health, the answer is, it depends. What is healthy for one person may be incredibly harmful to another. Obviously, any trigger food such as things you are allergic or sensitive to should be avoided and conditions such as diabetes, celiacs, eating disorders, or auto immunities should also be taken into consideration. Avoiding trigger foods not only keeps you from spending your night full of gas and regrets, but it will also help to protect your gastrointestinal health by avoiding inflammation and disturbing the balance of bacteria in the gut. 

More generally, there are the old adages that still hold weight like reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume, drinking more water, and getting more whole grains, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. But there are also some strategies that don’t get as much attention like making sure you are getting enough protein, monitoring your mood along with tracking your intake, and mindfulness practices like those taught as a part of intuitive eating therapies.

The good news is that you don’t need to completely overhaul your diet in order to feel better. Starting with one or two simple changes and sticking to them will be much more beneficial in the long run than trying to change all of your habits in a day.

Contact us today to spice up your next product with that little extra kick of flavor! 

What are you looking for?

Your cart