When it comes to supporting your mental health, it’s always good to start with your body. If your body isn’t in tip-top shape, meaning you’re not getting the necessary vitamins and hydrating, you can’t expect your mind to be strong enough to stand up against stress.
“We tend to separate our brain from the rest of our body, but good health means good health from a holistic perspective — from head to toe,” board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Gabriela Cora tells Aetna. “Why wouldn’t we think eating well would also impact our mental health?”
As the link between what we eat and how it affects our moods and feelings has become more of a discussion, a field of study called nutritional psychiatry has emerged. Nutritional psychiatry focuses on how essential it is to eat right and how food impacts one’s mental state — not just those who are diagnosed with things like depression, but everyone. This means eating foods that nourish the brain instead of harming it. Foods that nourish are antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Sugar, for example, is a food that harms the brain, so that’s something to decrease or, if you can, eliminate altogether — it can actually cause the brain to shrink.