Diet is an important element of not just your physical health but your mental health as well. In fact, for good health and wellness, many people are embracing veganism and vegetarianism as a great way to stay healthy and live longer. Now One Green Planet has posted a story about how veganism can promote mental health as well.
Mental Health and Vegetables
Vegans don’t consume any animal-based foods, and this not only includes chicken, meat, and fish but dairy as well. Many times when people need to improve their health, like say after a heart attack, they will jump on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Many don’t realize that veganism can also do great wonders for your mental well-being as well.
As this story explains, “What you eat influences every area of your body, including your brain. It is important to consider what you put into your body because that food will become the fuel for your mind.”
Plant-based food has antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your brain because you’re protecting yourself from what’s called free radicals, which are defined as “unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging.” One Green Planet continues, “If you deny your body and mind healthy foods, free radicals could wreak havoc and negatively impair cognition and mentality.”
The Mental Health Link Between Your Brain and Your Stomach
Before you go vegan, it is important to remember what One Green Planet advises: “While proper nutrition may help improve mental health, it is important to understand that it is not a replacement for proper treatment. Always consult a doctor if you are experiencing depression.”
There’s a strong relationship between your stomach and your mental health. 95% of your serotonin is made in your gastrointestinal tract, and if your serotonin is low, you’re more likely to be depressed and anxious. As this story further explains, “Certain foods trigger the synthesis of serotonin because they contain an amino acid found in proteins called tryptophan.” And if you want your serotonin at healthy levels, it’s important to eat foods with tryptophan.
The Best Foods For Stronger Mental Health
So when you’re ready to take the vegan plunge, the following foods are best recommended for tryptophan: Butternut squash seeds, sea vegetables like kelp and seaweed, organic soy (which remarkably has over 122% of tryptophan in an ounce), cucumbers, wheat, potatoes, leafy green veggies, mushrooms, and cauliflower, just to name a few.
With these ingredients, you can also create a number of meals that are great for your mental health including the following: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Carrot and Soba Noodles with Sea Vegetables, Pesto Potato Salad, Mushroom and Zucchini Burger, Veggie Bowls, and so much more.
There are many cookbooks dedicated to vegan foods you can make and prepare, and you may start seeing results as soon as you start eating. Again, a vegan diet should never be a substitute for seeking mental help through a therapist, but it’s certainly a strong stepping-stone to better mental health, and if it makes you happier and healthier physically and mentally, why not try it?