Can you juice your way to better mental health?
When I first started to make changes to my intake back in 2009 I expected to drop a few pounds and see some physical changes to my body. What surprised me was the impact it also made on my mental health.
Wether you know it or not, your physical and mental health are intrinsically linked.
Many people treat body and mind as two separate things, but to experience true wellness they must be treated as one. No matter how much you focus on your physical body, you can never be truly well until you also experience peace of mind and if you are stressed by trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, then your lifestyle is not healthy!
For more than a decade I tried my best to ignore the steady decline in my health. There were some highly visible signs, like my weight gain, that I would try my best to cover up with baggy clothes. I was even better at hiding the less visible signs, like my depression, mental health challenges and unhealthy relationships with junk food and alcohol.
I got so good at creating convincing stories to hide my health issues, that even I started to believe them. I also got good at justifying the behaviours that were accelerating my decline. I was in denial.
According to an ancient Buddhist saying there are “three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” In others words, just as the sun and the moon will always appear, so will the truth.
If you are ready to accept the truth, then changing what you consume can help you reclaim your health.
How to juice your way to better mental health
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry reported that eating a diet rich in whole foods results in people being less likely to report feelings of depression than those who eat lots of processed foods.
A separate study published in Public Health Nutrition revealed that consumers of fast food are 51% more likely to develop depression when compared to those who eat little or none. Dr Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, the lead author of the study, said: “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression”.
Dr Almudena Sanchez-Villegas added: “Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression.” She added that the findings backed up previous studies finding the link with depression.”
I’ve written many times that if you want to be as nature intended you have to eat as nature intended. This is true for both your physical and mental health.
Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems in Britain and one in four people in the UK experience some kind of mental health problem each year.
Looking after your gut health could be key to fighting mental health problems. 95% of your serotonin (the feel good hormone) is made in the gut. As result poor gut health can impact your mood.
The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with fewer depressive symptoms.
Why I LOVE avocado
One ingredient I credit with having a significant positive impact on my health (both physical and mental) is avocado.
Avocados helps our bodies to create serotonin (the feel good hormone) by providing a source of the amino acid, tryptophan.
San Francisco nutritionist Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association says, “Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter, helps you feel calm.”
Something else that has been shown to impact your mental health is your level of B vitamins (including folic acid). According to a study in the 2007 “Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,” not getting enough folic acid in your diet from can put you at greater risk of developing depression. A deficiency of vitamin B6 is also associated with depression.
Avocados contain more folic acid per ounce than any other fruit and just one avocado per day provides the average person with sufficient vitamin B6.
Finally, avocados are a great source of essential fatty acids (EFAs), including Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Dr. Carol Locke, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, who served on the faculty for 14 years, says, “An imbalance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 can result in an overall inflammatory response and related disorders such as depression.”
Avocados don’t juice well, but they are delicious when blended into a fresh juice, giving a rich creamy flavour.
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