Nutrition

A Plant Based Diet: Your Mental Health’s New Best Friend

We’re taught that bacteria aren’t our friends, but when it comes to the flora in our gut, we should be calling them our BFFs. Not only are gut bacteria responsible…

We’re taught that bacteria aren’t our friends, but when it comes to the flora in our gut, we should be calling them our BFFs. Not only are gut bacteria responsible for helping with digestion and absorbing nutrients, but a healthy gut is correlated with stable, uplifted moods. As it turns out, individuals on a plant based diet tend to have healthier digestive systems and better mental health than their meat-eating counterparts. Here’s why switching to a plant based diet is doing favours for your brain, as well as your body:

Natural nutrients

Main food sources in vegan and vegetarian diets are loaded with an extensive list of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that keeps your gut balanced and healthy. Acidic wastes, saturated fats, and harmful proteins will all be eliminated, so your body won’t have to struggle to feel good. An extra benefit? This can help reduce the risk of many types of cancer, especially those of the digestive system

No long chain fatty acids

In a study in Nutrition Journal, researchers followed a group who ate meat daily and then switched to a vegetarian diet. Within two weeks, participants said they experienced better moods and less stress. It’s believed this is because long chain fatty acids in meat is related to depressive symptoms, an issue not present in vegan diets.

Less omega-6

While omega acids are typically thought of as being healthy, arachidonic acid, or omega-6, has been linked to brain changes corresponding to negative moods, especially depression. Watch out for it in meat, chicken, and some fish. Though another omega acid, omega-3, has a beneficial impact on the brain, vegetarians consume high amounts of plant-based antioxidants that negate the need for as many omega acids to ward off oxidative stress.

Magnesium

Magnesium is one of those minerals people forget to eat, but it’s something you should be consuming every day, regardless of whether you eat meat. Luckily for vegans and vegetarians, plant-based diets are chock full of it. Not only does magnesium boost your energy and mood and prevent headaches, but it also improves your sleep — a critical component of mental health. Some of our favourite places to find it is in whole grains, all seeds, bananas, and butternut squash.

Protein

Protein is also linked to optimum brain performance, and Soulara meals are packed with plant-based protein sources, from quinoa to nuts to beans to ensure your diet keeps you energised, strong, and uplifted.

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Published: 16/07/17

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