According to the Bureau of Statistics, in 2014-15 4.0 million Australians (17.5%) reported having a mental or behavioural condition. The term mental health covers a broad range of disorders including depression, anxiety, mood disorders and eating disorders.
Even if you don’t have a mental health condition, the way which you eat can have a drastic impact on your mood. We’ve broken down some key players, so you can eat your way to better mental health:
Food group and role
Breads and cereals
- Eating wholegrain breads and cereals means a sustained release of energy, preventing sharp up and downs in blood sugar. The fibre can help with serotonin (the feel-good hormone) production, leading to a better mood.
Fruit and vegetables
- Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals which are important for mood. Vitamins such as vitamin D, folate and vitamin B12 can help with mood disorders and depression.
Dairy and meat products
- Dairy products, meat and meat alternatives such as tofu, eggs, nuts and legumes all are good sources of protein. Protein is made up of amino acids which are used by the body to create hormones such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which may improve your mood and energy for several hours after eating.
Foods which are high in saturated fat or sugar such as chips, lollies, chocolate and soft drinks cause the body’s blood sugar levels to sharply rise and fall. This means that you’ll feel great for a short period of time, but when when your blood sugar falls; you’ll quickly find yourself looking for the next pick me up.
- Aim for little changes rather than perfection
- Try to eat a wide range of coloured vegetables – aim for the rainbow!
- Enjoy small amounts of discretionary foods but try to fill up on the core food groups
- Move your body in a way you find enjoyable for 30 minutes per day
If you want to talk to a professional about simple changes you can make to improve your diet, book in today with STC dietician Elizabeth.