Food is a powerful force not only on our bodies but on our minds as well. Most people in the world would agree that you would feel a lot better physically if you were to fill yourself with a healthy and nutritious diet.
However, not many people know how eating a healthy diet can make you feel great mentally, too. In recent years, scientists and researchers have found undeniable links between the food we eat and out mental health.
When people think about how food can make them happy, they typically imagine finding the sweetest or greasiest unhealthy food they can get their hands on and scarfing it down in the privacy of their living room while watching Netflix.
That’s not the kind of eating we are talking about here.
We’re going to discuss 8 ways that healthy food can make you happier, and how to get started using diet as a means of overall well-being. Let’s begin!
1. Healthy Eating Boosts Your Confidence
This is a huge one and one that is pretty self-explanatory. But, let’s get into the science behind why this is true.
First of all, it’s no secret that having a healthy and lean body will make you feel more self-confident. Feeling comfortable in your own skin allows you to not feel worried or ashamed to express yourself around others.
Now, it’s important to note that being overweight should not make you feel shameful. It is never too late to turn around and start making healthier eating decisions and participating in a more active lifestyle.
That being said, there’s a lot to say about your confidence after switching to healthier eating habits.
In fact, a study done in Australia back in 2016 found that people who went from eating practically no fruits or vegetables in their daily diet to eating eight portions of them a day found significant increases in overall confidence and well-being.
Their increase in confidence was compared to that of someone who had recently found a job after being unemployed for an extended period of time. Just from adding some fruits and vegetables to their diet!
2. Healthy Foods Can Reduce Anxiety
When you start eating a healthier diet, there are certain essential nutrients you will be receiving more of. One of those nutrients being omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s have been proven to reduce anxiety in adults up to 20 percent. Anxiety is a huge source of unhappiness in millions of Americans. You reduce this simply by adding this nutrient into your diet.
Here are some healthy food options that are high in omega-3s:
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Nuts like walnuts, pecans, and cashews
- Chia seeds
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach and Brussel’s sprouts
Add some of these foods to your diet and you will likely see a reduction of your anxiety-related symptoms!
3. Healthy Foods Contain Vitamin D
It’s no secret that vitamin D is one of the most important micronutrients responsible for happiness. But, where do you get vitamin D from? I can tell you that you won’t find it in fast food or a bag of chips, that’s for sure.
Where you will find vitamin D is in healthy food options like eggs, fatty fish (a two-in-one!), oranges, and mushrooms! You can also spend a bit more time in the sun to get some vitamin D, but that’s an article for another day.
4. Cutting Out Sugar Can Cut Out Depression
There have been tons of studies linking high sugar intake to higher levels of depression and anxiety.
That’s because sugar works a similar way in our bodies as a drug, creating artificial spikes in serotonin and energy levels, only to come to a crashing halt later on. Cutting out sugar can significantly reduce depression.
This doesn’t mean that you can never have sugar again, or that you can’t treat yourself every now and then. It just means that you should be reducing sugar as much as possible, especially refined sugar.
Try using a healthy sugar substitute instead, something like natural stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, or xylitol. Beware of certain artificial sweeteners that have other associated health impacts like sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame.
5. Improved Gut Health: Better Brain Health
Believe it or not, your gut health is directly linked to your mental health. That means that treating your gut health well will, in turn, improve your overall brain health and well-being.
To eat for a healthier gut, try consuming foods that are high in probiotics like:
- Fatty fish (you should be noticing a trend here…)
- Healthy whole grains
- Leafy greens
- Lean protein
- Fermented foods like kimchi, pickles, sourkrout, etc…
Once you add more of these gut-healthy foods to your diet, you will see a dramatic improvement in your overall happiness.
6. Certain Enzymes Boost Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that is directly linked to your level of happiness and important brain functions. Healthier diets promote many of these enzymes such as bromelain and papain.
You can find these enzymes in fruits like pineapple, papaya, avocado, bananas, as well as foods like sourkrout, kimchi, and miso.
7. Folic Acid Improves Mental Health
Folic acid, otherwise known as vitamin B9, is extremely important to our health, specifically our mental health. This is especially true in women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Increasing your intake of folic acid is associated with a lower risk of depression and other mental health ‘disorders’ that impede your ability to be happy. You can find folic acid in foods like:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy green vegetables
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
If you haven’t noticed by now, there are certain food groups that contain several of the essential nutrients that you need to not only feel better physically but mentally as well. Add these to your diet ASAP for the best results.
8. Drinking Enough Water Increases Happiness
In addition to all these better food choices, you need to start drinking more water if you want to improve your happiness and well-being. Drinking water doesn’t just help the body function properly, it helps the brain function, too.
Think about it, our brains are made of 70 percent water, so it’s no wonder that you need to be properly hydrated to function well. Dehydration can cause a lack of focus, lower blood flow to important body parts, and poor mood regulation.
Make sure that you are drinking at least eight cups of water a day. If you can manage to drink a gallon (which sounds a lot harder than it is) you will feel an immediate improvement in your overall well-being.
You can find out more about this by heading to Health News Tips!
Healthy Diet: Happy Life
Food is one of the most powerful factors in our health and wellness. If you are looking to make a change in your life, you simply need to start with what you are putting into your body. The rest will begin to fall into place.
You can get back to a happier life by simply eating a healthy diet. While you’re at it, check out some of our other blog posts to learn all about how you can improve your health and start feeling happier and more confident today!