If the patients I’m talking to are any indication, mental health is at an all time low.
Isolation from friends and family for months, unemployment, massive uncertainty, health risks, kids at home all the time… Not to mention that you can’t turn on the news without feeling your blood pressure rise and stress skyrocket!
Although there isn’t much data out there yet, it’s no wonder why experts are saying that depression, divorce, drug use, alcoholism, suicide, and domestic abuse are on the rise.
Early data is telling us that 1 in 3 Americans are showing signs of anxiety, depression, or both. That translates to:
- 70 million people with symptoms of clinical anxiety
- 28 million people with symptoms of clinical depression
- 140 million people with symptoms of clinical anxiety AND depression
It’s tragic, and I don’t want you or your loved ones to be a part of any of those statistics.
So today, I’m sharing concrete steps you can take to boost your mental health, help prevent anxiety, depression, or other challenges to mental wellbeing, and feel less stress and more joy each and every day.
Eat a diet that supports mental wellness.
What does the food you eat have to do with mental health? A lot, it turns out.
A meta-analysis of 16 studies was published in the journal Psychomatic Medicine that studied the effects of various diets on 46,000 adults from around the world. Here’s what they found…
In general, a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods, rather than processed foods, reduced symptoms of depression like hopelessness, trouble sleeping, and disconnecting from others.
“Including more non-processed foods, more whole foods—fruits, vegetables—is very beneficial in terms of your psychological well-being, particularly mood,” says Joseph Firth, of Western Sydney University, the lead researcher.
One of the most interesting findings was that people who felt depressed while the study was conducted improved after they changed their diets.
So not only can eating nutrient-dense foods help prevent depression, it can also shorten the length and lessen the symptoms of depression. That’s amazingly powerful!
So what foods support mental health?
Foods Rich in Magnesium
Magnesium does so many essential functions throughout the body – more than 600-700 activities in fact. Learning, memory, and mood are among the many ways magnesium levels affect the brain.
Low magnesium levels have been clinically linked to:
- Mental illness
- Other neurological diseases
A couple of studies have found that magnesium could be a powerful treatment for people with depression, perhaps just as effective as antidepressants without the side effects. How crazy is that?
Foods rich in chlorophyll are high in magnesium. So aim for lots of:
- Spinach (1 cup = 49% RDV of magnesium!)
- Collard and turnip greens
- Black beans
- Mung beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brussels sprouts
Of course, you can also supplement your magnesium to ensure you’re getting enough (most people are not). Alkamind Daily Minerals combines magnesium from the highest quality sources with calcium, potassium, and sodium bicarbonate for the right ratios of essential trace minerals.
Foods Low in Omega-6 Fats (aka Not Chicken!)
If you wonder whether omega-6 fats are damaging for your mental health, here’s all you need to know…
One study of patients in psychiatric hospitals found the average omega-6:omega-3 ratio to be 70:1.
The average American’s ratio is 19:1.
The ideal ratio for mental and physical health is 1:1, and should be no more than 4:1.
Why does this matter for mental health? Our modern diets have led to a huge increase in omega-6 because of the increase in processed grain consumption, meat eating, and use of vegetable oils like soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils.
Since the brain is made up of 60% fat, omega-6 fats have inflamed the brain so much that they can contributed to mental illness, as appears to be the case in the psychiatric hospital patients.
Can you see how this balance is so important?
Chicken is one of the biggest culprits behind the disastrous omega-6 fats we have today, because chicken is so high in ARA omega-6 fatty acids – the worst kind for inflammation. Here’s the breakdown of each of the foods containing ARA:
- Chicken: .154 grams per serving
- Eggs: .074 grams per serving
- Beef: .042 grams per serving
As you can see, chicken is more than 3 times worse than beef for this pro-inflammatory fat!
Eggs are also a big source of ARA, but if you’re going to eat eggs, you can mitigate the damage. Eat both the white and yolk of the egg, because the yellow yolk contains all of the DHA, which is an anti-inflammatory type of omega-3.
Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The other side of the coin of eating fewer foods with omega-6 fats is eating more foods with omega-3 fats, which are necessary to make the chemicals of the brain function properly to keep our moods stable and our minds thinking clearly.
Believe it or not, healthy fats are brain food!
Here are the healthy fat foods to eat more of:
- Chia seeds
- Wild-caught salmon, white fish, mackerel, and small, oily fish like anchovies
- Walnuts, cashews, and other raw nuts and nut butters
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
With that said, even if you eat those foods every day, you still need to take a good omega-3 supplement. It’s very difficult to eat a diet rich enough in omega-3, and unless you eat salmon 3 meals a day, you are deficient without a supplement.
Our Alkamind Daily Omega-3 is the best quality supplement on the planet. It’s the ONLY one with the ideal 2:1 ratio of EPA to DHA in a highly concentrated form. So you can take less and get more mental health benefit from it. Plus it’s heavy metal free and guaranteed for potency and freshness, so no fishy taste.
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