Nourish Your Mental Health

The proverb, “you are what you eat” resonates now more than ever.  I took this to heart a few years ago on the brink of career burnout and physical exhaustion, making simple changes to my diet and lifestyle that were absolutely transformative to my quality of life.

Here’s what really opened my eyes as I pursued my new wellness path and subsequent integrative nutrition education:

Did you know that 70% of your immune cells lie in your gut while your gut bacteria also produces the bulk of your neurotransmitters?  This means that what you consume can affect your mental wellbeing and even your immunity.  In the interest of doing your best to thrive in a pandemic climate – mentally and physically, perhaps it’s time to give more careful thought to what you put in your grocery cart during this time…and always.

Here are a handful of suggestions to help encourage good gut microbes by feeding them what they need, avoiding the things that damage them, and starving the bad bacteria that could lead to a host of mind and body issues.

What you may want to think twice about consuming in efforts to support a healthy gut:

  • Food and drinks high in sugar and caffeine.  It is recommended that men limit daily sugar intake to 9 tsp. and women to 6 tsp. – of course, the benefits go even beyond immunity.  Especially avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
  • Processed foods.  A guideline to remember: If it’s made in a plant, think twice.  If it IS a plant, go for it.
  • Refined oils, fats and carbohydrates (white flour, soybean and corn oil especially) – gluten-free, whole grains are a better choice. Important note: that doesn’t mean products labeled “whole wheat” or “multigrain” as those are still classified as a refined carb.

What may be a better choice to stock your refrigerator and pantry*:

  • Fresh and organic fruits and veggies – especially dark, leafy greens, lower-sugar fruits, and other nutrient-dense foods noted here
  • Raw and unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Gluten-free whole grains like quinoa
  • Lean protein sources (I personally skip red meats as much as possible as that is also a pro-inflammatory food)
  • Healthy fats like avocado and olive oil
  • Plenty of water


*Please note that one person’s food is another one’s poison depending on your own biological make-up and/or allergies.  Listen to your own body and guidance from your medical professional – this is simply a guide for consideration.

If you’d like to learn more about how we could work together to create greater wellness in your life, you can email me at danielle@thewellintended.com!


iStock photo credit: Vitalii Abakumov

Disclaimer: “The Well-Intended”, and its associated blog and social media pages are owned and operated by The Well-Intended LLC and does not provide medical advice.  The Well-Intended’s author is not a physician or licensed medical expert.  The content provided shares perspective on a personal wellness journey and healthy lifestyle approach practiced by its owner in order to achieve their own health and happiness.  Please consult your physician for advice and/or guidance regarding specific concerns with your own health, vitamins, supplements, fitness plan and/or anything else health- or wellness-related.

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