There is something about life these days that is just so busy. We are constantly trying to better ourselves, whether it is working towards a promotion, a fit and healthy body or better relationships with those we love. Not to mention our obsession with multi-tasking. All of these things take their tole, and before we know it we have exhausted ourselves both mentally and physically.
In New Zealand 1 in 4 people experience anxiety and 14.3% of New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with depression at one point in their lives. The numbers are rising. With so many lifestyle factors that can contribute to anxiety and depression, it is important we look after ourselves.
A new Deakin study has proven that what you put in your body has a huge impact on your mental health. The study found that a healthy diet that includes wholegrains, vegetables, fish and lean red meats but limits sweets, refined cereals, fried foods and sugary drinks can significantly improve depression and anxiety symptoms.
A lot of people are obsessed with limiting their intake of wholegrains and red meat, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that these could be the secret to a healthier mind.
Of course, while it is not surprising to hear that we should eat healthy for a healthier mind, it is important to turn our healthy eating into a lifestyle rather than an obsession.
Dietitian, Sarah Hanrahan, warns against obsessing over single nutrients and instead encourages an eating pattern that includes a variety of healthy foods.
This is what the study suggests a healthy diet looks like.
Daily: Six servings of vegetables, five servings of wholegrains, three servings of fruit, two servings of unsweetened dairy, one serving of raw, unsalted nuts, and three tablespoons of olive oil
Weekly: Three to four servings of lean red meat, two servings of chicken, up to six eggs and at least two servings of fish
Extras: No more than three servings per week of sweets, refined cereal, fried food, fast food and soft drink
Alcohol: No more than two glasses of red wine a day, only with dinner
“Clearly this study adds to the growing body of evidence that a healthy diet is an essential component of mental health,” clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge said.