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Nutrition and Mental Health

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, and that is something close to our core at Healthy Nibbles. It's a huge part of what we do, because we believe that nutrition has a huge impact on mental health. Today, we're explaining this link.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 
"there is a growing body of evidence indicating that nutrition may play an important role in the prevention, development and management of diagnosed mental health problems including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, ADHD and dementia." 

A 2019 review of 56 studies (Khanna et al., 2019) found an association between a high intake of healthy foods, such as olive oil, fish, legumes, dairy, fruits, and vegetables, and a reduced risk of depression during adolescence.

Another study (Masana et al., 2011) investigating adults over the age of 50 years found a link between higher levels of anxiety and diets high in saturated fat and added sugars.

Research has also found that a high fat and low carbohydrate diet (a ketogenic diet) can help children with epilepsy, and B12 can reduce fatigue, poor memory, and depression.

Now that we recognise the link between nutrition and our mind, here are 4 top tips to maintain a healthy mind and body:

  • Eat regularly: Try to eat a nutritious breakfast and space meals evenly throughout the day. 

  • Get your 5 a day: This can be difficult, especially when you're busy. So try eating snacks that contain one of your 5 a day, or integrate more vegetables into your meals.
     
  • Cut out caffeine: We know the feeling of a fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning! But caffeine is a stimulant, and with the intense highs come intense lows. Try to reduce your caffeine intake to level out your adrenaline levels, leaving you feeling calmer, more focused and most likely, more energised.

  • Eat more protein: Protein can help to regulate your thoughts and feelings and keeps your fuller for longer. Don't worry, you don't need to start drinking 5 protein shakes a day! Try eating high-protein snacks throughout the day, or integrating more protein into your meals (like nuts, lentils or lean meat).  

If you want to hear more on the topic, our founder, Sara, recently discussed her experience with mental health on the Maycontain podcast, which you can click here to listen to

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