(Natural News) Whole foods are a those that have undergone as little processing or refinement as possible. Unlike processed foods, whole foods exist in their purest, most natural form – free from any chemicals, preservatives, and additives. As they are abundant sources of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, they can provide many health benefits, including helping protect the brain from mood disorders.
The line between what consists of whole foods and what does not is a fine one. For instance, a potato is considered a whole food, while a potato chip is not. The bottom line: Whole foods are those that remain closest to their natural form. They are not produced in a factory or manufactured. Whole foods are often greatly associated with fruits and vegetables, but unprocessed meats can be considered whole foods as well.
How whole foods can improve mental health
Inflammation refers to cellular damage that is caused by the byproducts of metabolism, pollution, sun exposure and various other environmental stressors. Chronic inflammation is also linked with oxidative stress. Research shows that inflammation can be dangerous because it can lead to physical problems such as cancer, but it can also lead to mental health problems, such as schizophrenia and depression. Inflammation can be alleviated with the help of an anti-inflammatory diet. Fortunately, some of the best examples of anti-inflammatory foods are whole foods.
Certain whole foods such as berries, beans, and citrus fruits are especially rich in antioxidants and also have anti-inflammatory properties that can improve mental health. Antioxidants also help prevent oxidative stress. By eating an anti-inflammatory diet of whole foods packed with antioxidants, you can help protect yourself from a wide range of physical and mental conditions associated with inflammation.
Additionally, some mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, can be caused by a deficiency in certain nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for supporting good mental health. By eating a wide variety of different whole foods, our bodies can receive healthy combinations of the nutrients it needs to feed our brain. Without these nutrients, our brains will have a difficult time stabilizing our moods and providing clarity to our thoughts. Proper nutrition is deeply connected with one’s mental health. (Related: Mood foods: How what you eat affects how you feel.)
Beneficial foods for mental health
Eating more natural whole foods and fewer processed foods will greatly benefit your mental health. Here are some recommended whole foods to keep your mind clear and sharp:
- Chia seeds. Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain magnesium, calcium and potassium.
- Broccoli. Broccoli contains a lot of fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant.
- Spinach. Spinach is a dark, green leafy vegetable that also contains omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, it is also rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and folate.
- Berries. Most berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, are packed with antioxidants such as vitamin C. Dark-hued berries, in particular, are rich in plant-based compounds called anthocyanins, which also contain antioxidant properties.
- Salmon. An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D and potassium, salmon also contains tryptophan. When we consume tryptophan, it is converted into serotonin, which is an important mood regulator in the brain.
If you want to learn more about whole foods and their health benefits, you can read more articles by going to SuperFoods.news.