Studies suggest a link between mental health disorders like depression and low levels of certain vitamins and minerals.
Sun exposure is one of the main ways we get vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium and helps keep your bones strong. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. But if you're not able to safely spend time in the sun, you can also get vitamin D through foods like:
- Fatty fish like salmon and sardines
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods like milks, orange juice, cereals and oatmeal
This mineral helps to support several crucial body functions beyond mental health, including blood pressure, bone strength and heart health. Many plant-based foods are rich in magnesium:
- Nuts like pistachios, almonds and walnuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dry beans
- Green, leafy veggies like spinach
- Whole grains
Besides supporting your gut health and bowel movements, fiber is also associated with positive mental health. Fiber helps promote healthy bacteria in your gut, which, as some studies have shown, can also improve mental health and boost your mood. Here are just a few fiber-rich foods:
- Berries like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries
- Sweet potatoes
Maya Feller is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Brooklyn. She provides medical nutrition therapy for the management of and risk reduction of non-communicable diseases. Maya is dedicated to promoting nutrition education that helps the public to make informed food choices that support health and longevity. Find her on Instagram, @mayafellerRD, and check out her book "The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for a Healthy Life."