More than 80% of Americans have diets that are low in fruits and vegetables, which means that most people are not meeting basic dietary requirements. This means your brain may not be getting the nutrients it needs. That is where functional nutrition can help.
Functional nutrition focuses on eating in a way that optimally benefits both your physical and mental health.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of functional nutrition, as well as some nutrition tips to get you started.
What Is Functional Nutrition?
Functional nutrition, an aspect of Functional Medicine, focuses on using food as medicine and eating beneficial foods to support and maintain a healthy body. Holistic in its approach, it’s a unique way of locating the underlying cause of the symptoms – the thing that is causing the illness, intestinal discomfort, or other physical issues. Once identified, it targets the root cause through personalized meal plans aimed to enhance your personal health and prevent future symptoms from appearing.
Top 3 Benefits of Functional Nutrition
The benefits of functional nutrition range from overcoming ailments to improved mental function. Below are three ways that functional nutrition can improve mental health.
1. Better Food, Better Mood
In many cases, higher consumption of junk food can lead to higher risks of depression and mood disorders. Avoiding processed and refined foods can reduce inflammation in the body and improve mental cognition.
High levels of fat and trans fats can cause oxidative damage. This imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body can cause long-term cell and tissue damage.
Artificial sweeteners, in particular, have been shown to negatively affect your mood. Packing your diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can begin to reduce those pesky sugar cravings and clear the mental brain fog. Over time, those foods will be a source of energy and keep you satiated throughout the day.
2. A Healthy Gut Means a Healthy Mind
There is growing evidence that draws a direct connection between the health of the microbiome in your gut and the health of your brain. An imbalance of good bacteria in your gut has been linked to brain fog, memory, and even depression. The cause of the imbalance is associated with a lack of crucial nutrients, ones that are naturally available in fruits and vegetables.
In addition to whole, unprocessed foods, choosing foods that help supply the body with probiotics, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, or anything else that has been fermented, is important.
3. Brains Foods Are Real
Just like every other part of your body, your brain depends on what you eat for fuel. If you’re eating for optimal brain health, it’s important to include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fatty acids.
Fatty acids, like omega-3s, are exceptionally vital for the brain and can be found in foods like salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts (nature even made these look like a brain!)
Put These Nutrition Tips to Use
These are the first steps on how to eat in a way that promotes mental health and brain function. But everyone’s body behaves and reacts differently. At our Littleton clinic, we perform an extensive blood panel to see just how your body is functioning. From the results, we are able to provide customized holistic recommendations to address your individual health and nutrition needs. We can only reach overall health when we’re looking out for our physical health as well as our mental health.
If you want to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.