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The body and the mind are closely connected. Physical wellness can affect mental health and vice versa. When you are experiencing bad mental health days, it is easy to fall into the vicious cycle of bad diet and poor self-care that worsens depression and stress. These simple tips can help break that cycle and boost your mental health by eating well.

Avoid Processed Foods

Processed foods, or foods that have a lot of fat and added sugars, have a strong negative effect on physical and mental health. They affect the brain’s dopamine receptors, causing people to become addicted to the sugar rush, and make people sluggish physically and mentally. Reaching for processed foods makes it more likely to develop emotional eating habits.

Instead of snacking on processed snacks such as chips, replace them with healthier alternatives that are still tasty, such as fruit and nuts. You will have more energy and stop your brain from becoming dependent on the dopamine from processed foods.

Remember the Gut

Bacteria in the gut and neurochemicals are surprisingly interconnected, so maintaining a healthy gut is important for mental health. Eating foods that are good for gut health, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help prevent digestion issues. A healthy gut stimulates bacteria that produce important brain chemicals such as serotonin.

Keep an Eye on What You Eat and When You Eat

It is easy to forget to eat during mental health crises or to rely on junk food. Make conscious choices while shopping or snacking, remember to eat regularly, and avoid distractions during meals to improve your awareness around your eating habits. Maintaining regular eating habits will help you improve your energy and provide a routine to stabilize your mood.

If mindfulness does not come naturally to you, record what you eat and journal about your feelings around eating.

Building healthier eating habits could also help improve your mental health. Creating a routine with nutritious, tasty meals can go a long way towards decreasing your stress and improving your mood.