We all know what we’re supposed to eat for good physical health. Fresh fruit, vegetables, unprocessed food – that sort of thing. But chips, chocolate and takeaways? They’re definitely the bad guys.
But did you know that eating well’s also essential for mental health? What you eat can affect your mood. For example, sugary snacks make your blood sugar level race up and down, leaving you tired, irritable and depressed. That’s why foods that release energy slowly, such as proteins, nuts, oats and wholegrains are good: they help keep your sugar level (and your mood) balanced.
Then there’s gut health. A healthy gut helps you to absorb food better, giving your body the nutrients it needs. An unhealthy gut can cause or worsen a lot of problems, including depression. Fruit, veg, wholegrains and live yoghurt are foods that keep your gut happy.
What about healthy drinking? A lot of adults don’t drink enough water (that’s between eight and ten cups per day) but do drink too much caffeine, which can make you anxious and depressed and disturb your sleep.
Those are the facts. But if you’re living with a mental illness, all this healthy living stuff can seem beyond you. And if you’re short of money, junk food may seem cheaper than healthy foods (fyi, it isn’t).
But healthy eating isn’t beyond you.
There are heaps of simple things you can do that will really pay off. Maybe you could eat breakfast every day and replace at least some processed food with fruit and veg. If you want to be really good, you could cut down on coffee and drink your eight cups of water.
You’ll feel a lot better for it.
Check out VicHealth's guide to healthy living apps.