Foods That Improve Mental Health

There is an old saying that goes, “You are what you eat,” and is often brought up in reference to junk food. A regular diet of things like hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes will take a definite toll on your physical health after awhile. But did you know that what you eat can also negatively affect your mental health?

Therapists working with people who have mental health challenges tried various strategies to help their clients overcome these problems. While talk therapy and medication are often cited, one lesser-known strategy is diet. While the food these individuals eat will not fully solve their problems, a change in diet can often make mental health challenges less potent.

Antioxidants

You have probably heard about how antioxidants are great for your physical health, but they are actually also beneficial for your outlook. People with large amounts of carotenoids (a form of antioxidant) in their system tend to be more optimistic and upbeat, which is the antithesis of depressed or anxious. Antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, so make sure that you have the recommended amount of both each day.

Junk foods make you feel more stressed

so-called comfort foods may indeed make us feel better for a time, but they are actually also making us more stressed. Heavy amounts of sugar and salt are not beneficial for people dealing with issues like anxiety and depression (or anyone, really). In the long run, a healthier diet will make you feel better.

You will get more sleep

Another thing that junk food is not good for is promoting healthy sleeping habits. People suffering from anxiety and depression often do not sleep well, which makes them feel really tired and that in turn heightens the already existing problems. The equation is simple: a better diet equals better sleep.

How to Stay on a Diet

Ever decided that you needed to lose a few pounds? We will bet that it was a tough time in your life as weight loss involves a lot of planning and will power. If you were not able to succeed, do not worry, there is always a next time and the following tips can help to ensure that the next time will allow you to emerge victorious!

Do It With a Partner

One of the best ways to succeed at something is to do it with a partner. That way each person can watch out for the other and also provide them the necessary motivation. You can also work on your diet plans and exercise together.

Drink Plenty of Water

We all know how good water is for us, but it is also quite filling and this will help to keep your appetite and snacking under control.

Moderation

One sure way to fail a diet is to completely cut out the foods that you love. Instead of quitting cold turkey, instead consciously reduce the amount that you are eating. Dieting should not equal deprivation: cut it down, but not out completely.

Eat Smaller Meals Throughout the Day

Instead of having three oversized meals, try eating a series of smaller meals at different points throughout the day. This will help you meet your nutritional needs, while also reducing the likelihood of you snacking and going over your daily calorie rate.

Combine Health and Convenience

Some people start eating poorly because they find healthy foods to be too much work. You can get around this common problem by choosing foods that meet your needs and your calorie count, but do not require a great deal of preparation. Keep a few healthy snack foods within easy reach, too, as this will help prevent you from sneaking out to McDonald’s.

 

Canada’s Food Guide is Changing

If you grew up in Canada, you probably learned about Canada’s Food Guide in grade school. It has been the hallmark nutritional guide for this country’s citizens since its inception 75 years ago. While some changes have occurred since that debut, it is now undergoing a major revamp that will reflect the latest data regarding what constitutes a healthy diet.

Last updated seven years ago, the guide’s new edition still aims to influence Canadians to make the best choices, though there are some concerns that must be addressed. Specifically, people in the medical community feel that the current incarnation does not do enough to address the growing problems of obesity and illnesses brought about by inadequate or unhealthy diets.

Environmental sustainability and animal welfare will receive more emphasis, so those who support a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle will no doubt applaud news that the new version reportedly has a reduced emphasis on meat and milk. Also, as the country has become more diverse with a wide range of diets, the guide seems behind the times with its largely North American outlook on food choices.

One thing that might represent a major change in approach is the four food groups. These have been part of the guide for decades, but may no longer be used.

The current guide has also received much criticism for the amount of calories it encourages people to eat per day, so expect that to go down.

Something everyone seems to agree on is that the guide is simply too long and too involved. At six pages, it is not something easily condensed into a size that is easily carried. Also, people will be more likely to follow the recommendations if they are more straightforward and easier to implement.

Do you use Canada’s Food Guide to plan your meals? Or is it just a vague memory from your school days?