Nutrition and Mental Health: Eating to Reduce Inflammation
One of the best tools that we’ve found to help with managing Post Traumatic Stress and improving mental health is our diet. The food we use to fuel our bodies is so important to the processes that happen in our brains.
Over the next few weeks, we want to talk about what we’ve learned as far as nutrition, and what is working for us. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want more details! KEEP IN MIND: we are not nutritionists or medical doctors, so be sure to consult yours before starting any new program.
Inflammation is your body’s signal to you that something is wrong–either there’s an injury, or infection…something is off. The foods that you eat can greatly affect how much inflammation is in the body. Studies show that long term inflammation is a marker for all sorts of chronic disease.
So let’s talk about the foods that cause or increase inflammation, and what foods can help keep inflammation at bay.
According to Harvard Health, foods that cause or increase inflammation are:
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- margarine, shortening, and lard
So it might be a good idea to limit your consumption of these if you are focused on reducing inflammation.
Meanwhile, you’ll want to add plenty of the foods that reduce inflammation:
- olive oil
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts like almonds and walnuts
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
If you’ll notice, the foods on the inflammation causers list are all processed and convenience foods, and the foods on the inflammation reducers list are close to their natural state. So as a general rule, if you shop on the outside edge of the grocery store, where the fresh veggies, fruit and meat are found, and avoid the center of the store where all the food comes in cans or boxes, you’ll be doing your body a favor when it comes to inflammation.
If you’re looking for more individualized help with nutrition, PTSD recovery or health coaching, be sure to reach out to us–we’d love to help!