Poor nutrition not only results in physical disease, but emotional and mental disorders as well.
Even though the importance of this is only now being brought to light, it is something that has been known for thousands of years.
This is because food is meant to provide your body with clean energy and ensure proper function of all of its systems.
When your body’s needs are satisfied, it signals your brain to create a sense of wellness and promote happiness and mental stability.
The Rise Of Mental Illness
With the rise of the popularity and accessibility of unhealthy foods, one of the biggest issues facing individuals today is mental health. Common disorders include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and dementia.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, depression is the most common type of mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 26% of the U.S. adult population (1). This is particularly problematic since the condition is associated with an increased risk for mortality from suicide as well as other causes, such as heart disease (2).
This high rate of mental illness is particularly problematic of children as well. In fact, 11% of Americans ages 12 or older currently take antidepressants (3).
This medication may seem harmless, but it can cause numerous side effects ranging from mild symptoms, like nausea, night sweats and headaches, to extremely serious symptoms, including suicidal thoughts, mania, birth defects and hypertension (4).
The population most vulnerable to these side effects is young adults age 18-24. While these side-effects have been downplayed many times, the FDA now requires the manufacturers of these medications to include a Black Box warning, the strictest warning put in the labeling of prescription drugs or drug products (5).
Food for Thought
It’s well known that certain types of food can negatively affect the brain, especially during childhood, early adolescence, and old age (6,7). But to what extent does your daily diet affect your mood?
Researchers from the Otago Department of Human Nutrition conducted a study to determine the link between food and emotions.
They tracked the 281 participants through a detailed daily food log for 21 days. Participants had to describe their emotional state using 18 adjectives, nine of which were negative and nine were positive.
It seems that the more fruits and veggies they consumed, the better their moods were. The participants used adjectives such as energetic, happier, and calmer when they had consumed higher amounts of fruits and vegetables. This consumption also resulted in a more positive mood the next day. (8)
Antioxidants vs Depression
Several studies have revealed that there is a strong correlation between excess homocysteine (an amino acid) and depression. (9) Other studies have shown that the key to lowering levels of this amino acid is to increase your intake of folate and antioxidant-rich foods (10,11).
This indicates that you can actually replace your medication with fresh, nutrient-dense juice. It all comes down to choosing the right fruits and veggies for your specific needs.
4 Mood-Boosting Juices
These juices combine folate and antioxidants to improve your mood and overall health. For best results, use fresh, organic produce.
If you don’t have a juicer, simply add a bit of water and prepare in your blender. This method will also ensure that you don’t lose any gut-healthy fiber.
1. Cucumber Spinach Juice
- 1 Pound of Spinach
- 1 Cucumber
- 2 Green Apples
- 1 Lime and Peel
2. Green Apple Juice
- 4 Granny Smith Apples
- 1 Lemon
- 5 Ribs of Celery
- 11 Large Kale Leaves
- 1 Pound of Spinach
3. Red Cabbage Juice
- ¼ Head of Red Cabbage
- 4 Carrots
- 2 Green Apples
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Inch of Fresh Ginger Root
4. Pomegranate Orange Juice
- 2 Pomegranates
- 2 Oranges
- 1 Green Apple
- 1 Lime and Peel
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