When thinking about healthy ways to feed your body and mind consider these tips:
• Reduce your intake of processed foods. Think fewer ingredients on the label or even foods with no ingredient label. For example, fruits and vegetables do not have an ingredient list.
• Avoid the term “clean eating,” since there aren’t “clean” or “dirty” foods.
• Shop for groceries on the perimeter of the store where you’ll find more fresh produce and fewer processed foods.
• Incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt into your diet. These foods are good for your gut health.
• Talk to your doctor about taking supplements, including a multivitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, and probiotics.
• Eat a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, bean and legumes and nuts and seeds. Limit foods and beverages high in added sugars, including soda.
Don’t go more than three to four hours without eating something. Eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day can help keep your blood sugar and your mood stable.
Eat mindfully. Typically, when you pay closer attention to what you’re eating and stay present, you make healthier choices.
Remember that small changes over time add up.
If you experience symptoms of a mood disorder, such as prolonged sadness, low energy, feeling anxious, feeling hopeless, changes in sleep patterns, or changes in appetite, talk with your doctor. Be mindful of how these symptoms are affecting your food intake.
Often, one of the first steps in diagnosing a mental health condition is blood work, which can help uncover any nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to your mood. Mood disorders and disordered eating behaviors often occur together, so understanding the way diet can affect mood is particularly important for those who are in treatment for disordered eating.
Treatment at Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health includes regular evaluations by a dietitian and learning the tools needed to make lifestyle changes that can help improve mental health. In addition, the Women’s and Adolescent programs offer an emotional eating track, which helps many understand the connection between emotion dysregulation and eating behaviors, while offering alternative coping strategies and healthier life skills.
For more information about the Emotional Eating Track at Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health, visit PrincetonHouse.org/womem or call 888-437-1610.