ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / February 8, 2021 / It’s no surprise that 2020 proved challenging to many people’s mental health across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, not only has there been increased demand for mental health services, but access has also decreased in over 93% of countries. Individuals around the world are reporting higher incidences of anxiety and depression, while others are struggling with the loss of loved ones, unemployment, and fear of illness. With many still stuck at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional methods to cope with stressors remain a challenge, leading many to search for new means to maintain balance in their mental wellbeing.
While the connection between nutrition and mental health has been researched heavily in the past decades, we are only now coming to understand how critical a role nutrition plays in maintaining mental health. Entrepreneur and leader in the health and wellness industry, Deepak “Dee” Agarwal has seen the power following simple nutritional guidelines can have on managing mental health. “Knowing what foods and nutrients we should or shouldn’t be consuming can be really challenging to determine,” says Dee Agarwal, “But with some smart research and meaningful changes, you can be set on a path that will leave you feeling better — physically and mentally – every day.”
Dee Agarwal admits that for most of his life, he was unaware of the incredible benefits nutritional choices can make on mental wellbeing. This is not surprising as many in the health and wellness industry have primarily focused on the physiological effects of food. However, by following these four tips, you will quickly see the powerful effects that nutrition can have on your mood and mental health.
Listen to your Body
The most important step when starting a new nutritional wellness plan is to understand that not everyone has the same body and therefore, the same nutritional needs. “What works for one person, may not work as well for another,” says Dee Agarwal. “Nutrition is a journey you must take on your own in order to find out what works best for you.” A good place to start is your stomach. By tracking how your mood and physical state changes over time, and keeping track of what you eat, you should be able to identify patterns that unlock secrets to your personal health.
Develop Good Gut Health
According to Health @ UC Davis, keeping your stomach feeling well is also essential for mental wellbeing, due to the connection between the brain-gut axis, which describes the bidirectional link between the central nervous system and the GI tract. Maintaining gut health through the inclusion of probiotics and prebiotics is essential, as these will help maintain the microbiome in your stomach and intestines. Some examples of foods with prebiotics include fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Probiotics, which contain living cultures that can bloom in your microbiome, can be found in foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh. “These small supplemental elements to your diet can have incredible effects on not just your stomach’s health, but also your mental wellness,” notes Dee Agarwal.
Get Your Protein
While protein may seem like a tool for bodybuilders and gym-goers, this macronutrient is vital to our bodies and can have major effects on mental health. Mind.org.uk, a UK-based organization that focuses on bettering mental health, is another proponent for the power of protein in building robust mental fitness. Amino acids, the main building blocks of protein, also make up the chemicals in your brain that regulate thoughts and feelings. “Healthy, natural sources of protein can have surprising benefits for mental health,” says Dee Agarwal. “Try to get ample protein through lean meat, fish, nuts, and legumes.”
Healthy Fats are Friends
Some of us may have grown up living off the maxim that all additional fats and oils are bad for you. However, new research has shown that healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil are essential for maintaining optimal brain function. Additionally, fatty acids such as Omega-3, which can be found in fish, have been shown to have antidepressant and mood-stabilizing effects. “These fats are an essential part of a balanced diet,” notes Dee Agarwal. “And the best part is that they’re also enjoyable to eat.”
As we navigate a new year of promise and possibilities, we should prioritize our physical and mental health to alleviate some of the anxiety that plagued many of us in 2020. “While there are many ways to improve our mental health, diet plays a critical role,” says Dee Agarwal. “Honing in on nutrition can help you fast-track your path to a healthy mind, body, and spirit.”
For more from Dee Agarwal on natural health and the evolution of the wellness industry, read How Natural Health is Taking the Wellness Industry by Storm.
SOURCE: Deepak Agarwal
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