People who are active and concerned for their health may be overthinking what food is doing for their bodies. What is best after training? Is a Keto diet good for my body? Low carb, high carb, no carb? There are many choices out there. We do not often think about what our food is doing for our brain. Have you ever had a big cheat meal and felt sluggish? You probably felt brain fog too. New research suggests that diet and mental health may be more connected than once thought.
Of course, many studies already show that eating junk is not great for your brain. Fatty meats, sweets, and processed carbs can make you more prone to depression. The research shows that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and fish can help treat clinical depression. Many eating plans were analyzed, and the winner is the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet has been touted for many years as one of the healthiest and easiest diets to adhere to. The diet is based on abundant amounts of vegetables and fruits, beans, olive oil, yogurt and cheese, fish and poultry, and moderate amounts of wine and red meat. Whole grains round out the diet. The diet is heart-healthy and plant-heavy.
The Mediterranean diet is the best at fighting inflammation. Inflammation does more harm to the body than just causing pain. Inflammation gets in the way of the brain’s ability to repair itself. In fact, many anti-depressant medications are anti-inflammatories. They help increase brain growth, prevent heart disease and stroke, and reduce risk factors like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Olive oil can help remove excess cholesterol from blood vessels and keep them open.
So, it does not need to be complicated. No matter what your level of health is, you can benefit from a plant-based Mediterranean diet. Your brain will thank you too.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH AND DEAN’ S TEAM CHICAGO