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From Plate to Peace: Exploring the Connection between Food and Mental Health

A woman standing in front of a window with healthy food
Good food = good mood

Hey there, my readers! Good books go well with good food, like popcorn compliments movies! My morning coffee always reminds me of lazy days on my window seat with my favorite book. But I digress. I learned the hard way how food can affect our mood. It was a constant cycle of potato chips, oily fingers, and careful page-turning, and it was not healthy. After my bout with anxiety and depression, during which I had to change many things about my daily life, I learned better.

One of the first things I changed was what I put in my body. Because even those processed sugars were giving me quick happy, it was followed by a lot of unhappy. It was looking in the mirror, crashing after a sugar high, or getting my complete bloodwork done to discover I could be diabetic. I needed to get off this read. So, I scoured the internet and picked my shrink’s brain. They all had scientific evidence for what I’m suggesting in this blog.

Today, we’re delving into the delightful realm of healthy but yummy foods that can satisfy our taste buds AND nourish our mental well-being. So, let’s talk food that will leave you feeling like a happy, dancing emoji! 💃 (The red dress is optional, but I do love my reds.)

The Connection of Mental Health and Food

A brain surrounded by good food.
Brain Food

Before diving into the delicious details, let’s talk about the essential connection between our bellies and brains. As it turns out, our food plays a big role in influencing our mental health. A well-balanced and nutritious diet can positively impact our mood, memory, and overall cognitive function. So, you’re boosting your brain and helping your gut. It will thank you, trust me.

My doc and the internet agreed that omega-3, fatty fish, B vitamins, and iron were essential for good mental health. I didn’t really believe it, but processed food doesn’t just make us fat; it also changes the gut environment, damages our intestinal walls, and causes inflammation. There’s a strong link between inflammation and anxiety and depression.

It’s no wonder the foods that are bad for your body are also really bad for your mind.

Signs You Need to Eat Healthier

If you’re feeling down in the dumps or have brain fog, it might be time for that extra nutritional TLC.

Common signs your diet could use a boost include:

  • Constant fatigue and lack of energy

  • Frequent mood swings and irritability

  • Difficulty concentrating or brain fog

  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss

  • Anxiety and depression

Remember, it is best to speak with your doctor and rule out anything else causing these symptoms before switching your diet.

10 Foods That Boost Mental Health

Now, let’s explore the superstar foods that can infuse your mind with positivity and lift your spirits to cloud nine:

berries, bananas, veges, coffee, healthy food
Healthy Food for Healthy Brain
  1. Blueberries - These tiny, mighty gems are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which help combat stress and inflammation in the brain. They also contain flavonoids that promote cognitive health and memory.

  2. Avocado - Creamy, dreamy, and incredibly nutritious. Avocados are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats that support brain function. They’re also rich in folate, which plays a role in serotonin production, the happy neurotransmitter.

  3. Spinach - Popeye knew what he was talking about. Spinach is brimming with brain-loving nutrients like iron, magnesium, and vitamin K. These elements support healthy brain function and can even help improve memory.

  4. Salmon - Oily fish like salmon are teeming with omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain health and emotional well-being. These fatty acids have been linked to reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  5. Nuts and Seeds - Nibble on some nuts and seeds for a mood-boosting crunch! Almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds are rich in omega-3s, while pumpkin and sunflower seeds offer a hearty dose of magnesium.

  6. Dark Chocolate - It’s not just a guilty pleasure; it’s a mental health treat! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that can enhance mood by boosting serotonin levels in the brain. Indulge mindfully and savor the bliss.

  7. Broccoli - This cruciferous veggie is a brain-boosting powerhouse! Loaded with vitamin K, choline, and antioxidants, broccoli helps support memory and cognitive function.

  8. Greek Yogurt - Get your gut and brain in sync with some creamy Greek yogurt. The probiotics in yogurt promote a healthy gut, which is connected to improved mood and reduced anxiety.

  9. Turmeric - Add a dash of sunshine to your meals with turmeric! This golden spice contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, benefiting brain health.

  10. Berries - Raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries contain antioxidants that support mental health by reducing brain inflammation and stress.

Now that you have the skinny on this delicious food mood journey, let’s keep the momentum going! Add a dash of exercise, and you’re gold! Remember, a balanced diet rich in these brain-loving goodies can profoundly impact your mental health. So, love your belly, love your mind, love yourself. It’s all connected.

If you’re interested in how I made my way from down in the dumps to a happier, healthier me, you can also check out my mental wellness journal designed around Rumi’s Teachings:

Dance of the Fallen Leaves: Healing with Rumi, a Wellness Journal for Women -

For further check out these resources:

Let’s toast to a happier and healthier mind, one delectable bite at a time!

So happy eating! (Literally!)

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Jan 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I completely agree with your insightful post! I'm a big believer in the power of healthy eating alongside regular exercise. Both fuel us in so many positive ways, and as the saying goes, "you are what you eat." I'm grateful you listed some essential dietary components for our daily lives.

PS: It’s like you can read minds .. good read with an early morning coffee is heavenly; absolutely!

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