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Proper Nutrition Feeds Your Body and Your Mind

We have all heard the adage “you are what you eat,” but people generally think of the saying as only relating to physical health. The fact is, a healthy diet has a considerable impact on your mental health as well.

“Failure to eat a balanced diet can increase the risk of depression and anxiety,” says Rachel Daddio, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian with Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health. “The biggest problem is a diet that is heavy in refined sugars and processed foods, which are pretty common in most people’s diets.”

Both refined sugars — found in everything from sweet desserts to savory baked goods like breads and pastas, as well as salad dressings, and even tomato sauce — and processed foods impact the production of serotonin in the body. And serotonin is key in regulating your mood and sleep. Reducing or eliminating refined sugars and processed foods, while eating proteins such as lean meats and nuts, as well as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, helps encourage the production and absorption of serotonin in the body.

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