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In addition to being essential to your survival, food also affects how you feel, look, and connect with others.

A few bites of something sweet can evoke pleasant childhood memories, while unhealthy foods will often influence and sour your mood. In fact, food is so dynamic that you can use it to express your gratitude to others and on hard days and use it as a coping mechanism.

fruit platter

But how deep does the relationship between food and your well-being go? And, could your diet be responsible for your prolonged low mood, anxiety, or ashy skin? Well, the answer is yes!

We often think of our brain as an independent from our body. However, how you look and what you think can be determined by your next snack. 

The Correlation Between Food, Mental Health And Beauty

The link between food and mental health is tied to the digestive system. Gut bacteria influences the production of neurotransmitters that affect cognitive processes and emotional regulation.

Healthy foods promote the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine which enhance your mood. In contrast, high-sugar content foods stimulate the production of cortisol, which increases anxiety, irritability and makes depression and other mood disorders worse.  But it does not stop there, the sugar in processed foods also causes inflammation resulting in puffy, dull, saggy, and wrinkled skin. Further, it also suppresses your white blood cells making it harder to fight acne-causing bacteria. The good news is that you could maintain healthy skin by consuming nutritious foods rich in antioxidants and fiber.

Feeding Your Body And Mind

A white platter of a variety of vegetables and fruit

As you know, your body requires minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates to function effectively. The question is, which food will uplift both your spirit and make your skin glow? 

Well, here are a few suggestions for you:

  1. Nuts

Nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. The antioxidants flush out toxins that cause excessive oil production and pimples. Additionally, they keep your skin feeling smooth by reducing facial wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. As a bonus, these antioxidants prevent oxidation in the brain and encourage the development of new neurons, both of which are crucial for maintaining your mental health. You can get these benefits from walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios. 

  1. Beans

Beans are fantastic mood enhancers. They are rich in vitamin B, which increases feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Actually, low levels of vitamin B12 have been associated with higher rates of mood disorders and depression.

Beans also contain iron, zinc, and biotin, which contribute to the growth of longer, stronger hair. The high zinc content has a powerful healing effects and can assist with acne.

  1. Lefty Greens

Kale, spinach, lettuce, parsley, broccoli, collard greens, and other leafy vegetables can improve cognitive function and reduce anxiety.  Leafy greens have a detoxifying and anti-ageing effect thanks to vitamin E, which protects skin from free radical damage. They also contain vitamin A, which prevents acne by slowing sebum production and flushing out toxins. 

  1. Fatty Fish
a grilled salmon dish surrounded by a variety of vegetables

Fatty fish are full of essential fats known as Omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). In fact, part of the brain and nervous system is composed of fats that are partial to DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids improve brain development, cell signaling, and memory. They also lower levels of depression and anxiety by enhancing neurotransmitter function, which improves dopamine and serotonin signaling. 

Additionally, Omega-3’s anti-inflammatory qualities, lessen acne and redness and keep your skin supple and moisturized. Salmon and other fatty fish contain vitamin E, which protects your skin from free radical damage, and zinc, which encourages the growth of new skin cells.

You can find Omega-3 in fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna, mussels, Anchovies, sardines and Trout. 

  1. Dark Chocolate

Good news for chocolate lovers, do not feel guilty when reaching for a piece of chocolate when you are feeling down. 

Chocolate enhances the production of endorphins which regulate mood, and cognitive function and reduce brain inflammation associated with depression. Additionally, chocolate contains the fatty acid N-acylethanolamines, which helps reduce anxiety and irritability. This tasty snack also keeps your skin hydrated and thick by enhancing blood flow to bring nutrients to your skin. It also contains antioxidants that help fight UV radiation.

You can maximize the health advantages of dark chocolate by choosing a brand with above 70% cocoa and a low sugar level.

a black background with five white dishes showing different meals - red soup, pasta, egg, split soup and croissants

Food For Thoughts

So next time you reach for a snack, go for something that will boost your mood. Remember, it is all about mindful eating. So, try to pick foods that will enrich your skin and spirit. As the saying goes: 

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”