Updated: Sep 11
When we think about mental health, we often focus on therapy, medication, or exercise as potential solutions. However, one aspect of mental health that is often overlooked is the role that diet plays. Eating a clean and healthy diet can have numerous benefits for mental health, including improved mood, reduced anxiety and depression, and better cognitive function.
What is Clean Eating
Clean eating is a way of eating that emphasizes whole, unprocessed foods while avoiding or limiting processed and refined foods. This means focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while minimizing or avoiding added sugars, artificial ingredients, and unhealthy fats. Clean eating also emphasizes mindful eating, or being present and intentional while eating, which can help promote a healthier relationship with food.
How Does Clean Eating Benefit Mental Wellness?
Eating a diet rich in whole foods and nutrients can improve our mood and reduce
symptoms of depression and anxiety. For example, a diet that is high in fruits and
vegetables provides the body with essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary
for optimal brain function. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon,
walnuts, and flaxseed have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.
Reduced anxiety and depression
A diet that is high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. In contrast, a clean eating diet provides the body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally and can help reduce inflammation, which is associated with mood disorders.
Better cognitive function
Eating a healthy and balanced diet can also improve cognitive function, including memory and concentration. Whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, and leafy greens, contain antioxidants that help protect the brain from oxidative stress, which can damage brain cells and contribute to cognitive decline.
Poor sleep can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. Eating a diet that is high in fiber and protein can help regulate blood sugar levels, which can lead to better sleep quality.
Eating a clean diet also leads to increased energy levels, which can improve mood and reduce feelings of fatigue. Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, provide the body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally and can help stabilize blood sugar levels, leading to sustained energy throughout the day.
Clean eating has numerous benefits for mental wellness, including improved mood, reduced anxiety and depression, and better cognitive function. By focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and mindful eating, we can provide our bodies with the nutrients it needs to function optimally and support our mental health.
And the best part? You don't have to give up your favorite foods; simply swap out processed ingredients for whole-natural ingredients and enjoy!
Do you want more information about creating mental wellness through your food choices? Here are a couple of articles:
Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food
Want to schedule a consultation with Michelle to discuss mental wellness?