#HR Trends and Insights

The connection between nutrition and mental health

August 01, 2023

At its base, food is a matter of survival. Nutrition is what keeps us going. And if food is the body’s “fuel”, think of it like it’s an expensive car. Your brain will function best when it gets premium fuel.

Your body needs vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to nourish the brain to achieve maximum physical and mental health.

Nutrition and mental health

Nutrition’s impact on your physical health is relatively easy to see, feel, and measure. We know that when we eat poorly, we can gain weight, we might feel sluggish, or get “brain fog.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, adults that eat a healthy diet live longer and have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

But what about the effects on our mental health?

Eating a diet full of sugar, processed foods, and trans fats may lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, triggering mood disorders, including anxiety, and depression.

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), people eat too much or too little when depressed or under stress. They suggest eating plenty of fruits and vegetables plus foods that are naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon). Seeds, nuts, and legumes (like beans and lentils) are also excellent brain foods.

Foods to incorporate into your diet for optimum mental health:

  • Complex carbohydrates like brown rice and starchy vegetables give you instant energy. Quinoa, sweet potatoes, and beets, have more nutritional value and will keep you satisfied longer.
  • Lean proteins lend energy that allows your body to think and react quickly. Good sources of protein include chicken, organic meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
  • Fatty acids are necessary for proper brain function. Fresh fish, meat, eggs, nuts, and flaxseed all contain good fatty acids.

Eating right on the go

Taking healthy eating habits on the go and into the office can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Little things like prepping meals and snacks the night before can make a huge difference.

Need help getting your employees on track with their nutrition and mental health? You can start offering Ticket Restaurant card from Edenred. Your employees can pay for meals at local eateries, restaurants, grocery stores, health food stores, and through food-delivery apps all with a prepaid card.

How Edenred can help

If you’re looking for creative ways to keep yourself and your team healthy in and out of the office, Edenred is here to help. Book a meeting with us today to get started.

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