Mental Health and Overall Wellness
Naturopathic doctors understand that mental health is critical to our overall wellness. This is especially true during this COVID 19 pandemic. We’re all concerned for our health and the health of our loved ones. While we cannot avoid the stress that these concerns bring, I know how important it is to keep our stress and mood in check to help us get through these tough times.
When we are struggling with depression, anxiety or other psychological concerns, our health can suffer. Often when we are stressed we don’t always make good choices for our health. If we feel overwhelmed this can raise our cortisol levels, which in turn can harm our immune system. How we mentally feel influences how we physically feel. Therefore, getting help to support our mental health plays an important role in keeping us healthy, body and mind.
There are many ways to support your mental health, especially with Naturopathic medicine. Below I’ve listed a few different Naturopathic recommendations, but always speak with a health care provider to see what options are right for you.
Food for Our Mood
A healthy diet is the foundation for a healthy mind. It can be hard to take care of yourselves when feeling low, and often our food choices suffer.
Eat a diet rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and healthy proteins to help balance blood sugar, decrease anxiety, and improve energy.
Certain foods can also be eaten for their specific nutrients. Include the following foods in your everyday meals for their mental health supporting properties:
- pumpkin seeds, which contain zinc and tryptophan to support serotonin, a feel good hormone.
- Fish like salmon and mackerel, or flax and chia seed are full of omega 3 fats, and are shown to improve mild-to-moderate depression.
Support Psychological Health With Exercise
Cardiovascular activities like brisk walking and jogging can be beneficial for depression and anxiety. Exercising helps to increase blood flow to the brain, which helps with mental clarity, focus, and energy. It can also be helpful to help decrease cortisol, helping to support our immune system.
Engaging in a heart friendly activity, with social distancing in mind, may be just the thing to support your mental health. Choose activities that your enjoy such as going for a hike, walk or bike ride.
Herbal and Nutraceutical Recommendations to Support Mental Wellness
There are many different natural products that can be used to support mental health.
- Fish oil contains omega 3 fats, which support healthy brain signalling and mood.
- The amino acid L-theanine can help to treat anxiety.
- St. John’s wort can be used to combat mild-to-moderate depression.
- Lemon balm, Passionflower and Chamomile are gentle, calming herbs used for anxiety.
- Adaptogenic herbs can help to increase your tolerance to stress. These include Siberian ginseng, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola.
Be sure to speak to your Naturopathic doctor to determine which natural medicines are right for you.
Our mental health is so important to our overall wellness. There is no shame in getting the help that we need to support our mental wellness, especially during these uncertain times.
If you have questions or concerns about your mental health, or on how Naturopathic medicine may be able to help with your health concerns, please contact Dr. Linda Shih, ND, at Spine Stretch Studio. I look forward to helping you on the road to wellness.