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Focus on Nutrition for Better Mental Health



More than what you eat, the way you eat can also affect overall mental health.

Over 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder in their lifetime. Studies have shown that people with depression often lack adequate nutrition and are deficient in neurotransmitters like serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.

Serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with millions of neurons. The production of serotonin and the functions of neurons are strongly impacted by the “good” bacteria in the intestines, which can be affected by what you eat.

So what should we eat for our mental health? Researchers have studied the effect that different diets and eating habits can have on mental health. Studies have shown that the risk of depression is 25-35% lower in people who eat a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, fish, seafood, and unprocessed grains compared to those who consume a typical Western compound diet. more processed foods.

Certain foods can limit optimal mental health. For example, this can occur in a normal diet where the consumption of foods like processed meats, sweets, fried foods, high-fat dairy products, and alcohol is high. Try these dietitian-approved tips below to improve your mental health:

Scan the QR code to find your Hy-Vee dietitian.
  • Instead of alcohol, replace it with a sparkling non-alcoholic cocktail. Try the recipe below for a refreshing drink for the summer heat.
  • Opt for foods that contain caffeine for improved energy levels rich in B vitamins. Products to try include dark chocolate, coffee, and tea. If you’re looking to cut down on caffeine while increasing your energy, opt for moisturizing drinks rich in B vitamins like coconut water or BODYARMOR sports drinks.
  • Replace high-fat foods with avocados, nuts, seeds, healthier oils like olive oil or avocado oil, and mozzarella or Swiss cheese for a more cheesy option. low fat. Consider air frying, baking, or broiling for healthier cooking options for some of these favorite foods.
  • Foods high in added sugar can interfere with optimal mental health. Instead, go for your favorite summer fruits, low-fat dairy options, and ice cream or low-sugar bars like frozen Greek yogurt bars.
  • In addition to choosing nutritious foods to improve your mood, don’t forget to develop healthy eating habits: eat breakfast every day, plan and prepare in advance, share meals with the family, stick to a schedule.

LaCroix Mimosa alcohol-free cocktail

For 1 person

All you need:

  • 2 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 ounces of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 4 ounces of LaCroix Sparkling Water
  • Orange wedge, to garnish

Everything you do: Combine the orange juice, grapefruit juice and sparkling water and serve in a champagne flute. Garnish with an orange wedge.

Recipe source: Hy-Vee.com.

Have a question for your Hy-Vee dietitian? Contact Jenn at [email protected] or call her at 515.695.3795. Your question will be answered and can be presented with your permission.