March is National Nutrition month. How we eat is important to our mental and physical health. In fact, some of the most recent studies are demonstrating that a healthy diet helps the management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and insomnia. In addition, a healthy diet helps prevent disease such as cardio vascular, diabetes, and hypertension to name a few. Proper diet is the best alternative medicine for whole body health there is. If you want to take a more alternative route to better mental and physical health there are some easy, inexpensive things you can do to make your diet work the best for you.
A healthy diet should include at least one healthy protein per meal. This ensure a constant supply of the amino acid tryptophan to the brain. Tryptophan helps improve skin, organ, muscle and immune function and recent research suggests it has a positive influence on mood. Eating meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, beans, lentils (dhal), or a meat substitute such as textured vegetable protein or mycoprotein at each meal will give you what you need.
Watch out for sugar. It is that simple! Sugary foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and can cause drastic mood drops and also affect your health. This also includes white flour. The best thing you can do is through away sugar and foods that contain refined sugar and wheat flour. Try to eat clean sugars which can include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
For the most part, processed food is anything that is boxed. Toss out granulated sugar and all foods that contain refined sugar and wheat flour. Get rid of processed foods like cookies, crackers, sugary cereals, white bread, packaged pastries, canned vegetables, soups and sauces, fast foods and sugary beverages.
The question then remains, well what can you eat? Of course there are so many foods you can eat it would be impossible to list them. Start with good fruits like apples, Pomegranate, strawberries and blueberries. These are now called super foods and can be used to make everything taste better, even oatmeal which is considered a super food.
Most leafy green vegetable are very healthy for you. Want something sweet try a sweet potato. There are so many things you can do with them. Oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies are not only good for your heart, but actually helps with depression.
A favorite for many is avocado. Some people think they are too high in fats however; these are the healthy fats so enjoy! Studies have shown that regular avocado consumption lowers blood cholesterol levels and they currently being studied in the laboratory to see whether they might be useful for treating diabetes and hypertension.
Flax Seed, Chia seed, wheat germ, all help promote good physical and mental health and can be put in shakes and sprinkled over foods. Nuts such as almonds, Pistachios and walnuts are all healthy and can be added to a variety of foods to make them tastier and appealing.
Remember that a proper diet is the best alternative medicine there is. Make sure you are taking care of yourself by taking better care of your diet. If you live in Tucson remember to visit the local farmers markets to get the best organic produce and meats.