To improve mental well-being, simply eating the right foods can be enough. But which diets and which individual foods can make a contribution here?
Studies show that nutrition has a significant impact not only on physical but also on psychological well-being. Some foods have an extremely beneficial effect, while others have a more detrimental effect.
These forms of nutrition have a positive effect
For example, a systematic review of 18 relevant research papers found that having people eat a predominantly plant-based diet can help improve mood. According to the researchers, this also applies to a ketogenic diet, the so-called DASH diet and the paleo diet.
The plant-based diet avoids animal products such as milk and meat, but instead consumes a lot of fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, legumes and nuts.
The ketogenic diet primarily includes nuts, healthy oils, avocados and fatty fish such as herring and salmon.
The Paleo diet mainly contains vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, fish, poultry and eggs. On the other hand, grain and grain products (especially white flour) are avoided and milk and dairy products are also avoided, explains the German Nutrition Society (DGE).
The so-called DASH diet, on the other hand, aims to counteract high blood pressure. For this purpose, fewer animal fats are consumed, but more vegetable fats such as those from nuts and oilseeds. Otherwise, this diet includes lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grain products and fish.
In addition, with the DASH diet it is advisable to only use low-fat dairy products if possible, report experts from the German Hypertension League.
If you have diabetes, eat a diet rich in fiber
Type 2 diabetes is also associated with mood swings, depression and anxiety. However, a diet rich in fiber can contribute to improvements in serum metabolism and emotional well-being in those affected, according to the results of a study this year.
This effect appears to be primarily due to changes in the intestinal flora, in particular the increased presence of bacterial strains such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Akkermansias, the researchers report.
In addition, a diet rich in fiber reduces various opportunistic pathogens, such as the bacterial species Desulfovibrio and Klebsiella.
According to the experts, the results of the study clearly show that the changes in intestinal flora influenced by a high-fiber diet can improve the emotional mood of people with type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D can improve mood
Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Susan Albers, reports that foods high in vitamin D can also improve mood. For example, enriched mushrooms, egg yolks, tuna, salmon and sardines are suitable for this.
This effect appears to be due to the fact that low vitamin D levels are associated with more anxiety and depression.
Improved mood thanks to vitamin C
“One of the best things you can do to support your immune system and improve your mood is to eat foods high in vitamin C,” says Dr. Albers in a press release.
Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, mangoes, lemons, kiwi, broccoli, peppers and strawberries.
Walnuts and cocoa
Furthermore, walnuts can not only strengthen cognitive functions, but also improve psychological well-being, reports Dr. Albers.
And consuming cocoa is also an effective way to improve your mood, with the effect being attributed to the antioxidants it contains and their anti-inflammatory effects.
Taken together, diet can have a strong influence on mood, with the consumption of certain foods having an extremely positive effect on psychological well-being and can sometimes even protect against depression and anxiety. (as)