This week, the Active Minds @ Mines weekly meeting will be on Thursday (9/22/16) @ 4pm in MZ 126. We will be talking about stigma and the Signs Against Stigma Program.

In light that it is National Suicide Prevention Month, Active Minds @ Mines is taking the initiative to start the conversation about mental health and give you some helpful tips about how good nutrition can play an integral role in your own mental well-being, regardless of whether you have a mental health disorder or not.

Certain foods have precursors to important neurotransmitters, the chemicals that cause your brain to function at its best! Too little of a nutrient may cause these neurotransmitters to be off balanced. Though we function on over 60 neurotransmitters, there are four main neurotransmitters that affect our emotions and mood: serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and norepinephrine. What we put in our bodies has far-reaching effects on our health, so it is important to actively take care of our physical health to improve mental health as well.

SEROTONIN is the happiness neurotransmitter! Inline image 4

If you are experiencing irritability, inexplicable sadness, depressed mood, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, or pain, you should eat more avocado, chicken, chocolate, eggs, whole milk, oats, pork, turkey, yogurt, or other foods high in tryptophan.

DOPAMINE is the motivation and concentration neurotransmitter! 

If you are experiencing decreased pleasure in life, inability to feel connected, paranoid thinking, or decrease cognitive functioning, you should eat more beef, chicken, eggs, oats, pork, ricotta or cottage cheese, turkey, whole milk,  or other foods high in protein. You should not eat sugars or simple carbs.

GABA is the calming neurotransmitter! Inline image 5

If you are experiencing mood swings, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, or compulsive behaviors, you should eat more beans, brown rice, corn, lentils, peas, whole wheat, dairy, root vegetables, fish, bananas, broccoli, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kale, mango, nuts, oranges, spinach, and other foods high in l-glutamine or vitamin B.

NOREPINEPHRINE is the energy and drive neurotransmitter! Inline image 6

If you are experiencing lethargy, fatigue, lack of ambition, a depressed mood, decreased mental function, or inability to cope with stress, you should eat more yogurt, wild game, whole milk, turkey, ricotta or cottage cheese, pork, beef, chicken, eggs, oats, fish, seafood, and other foods high in protein or vitamin B12.

In general, eating unprocessed and clean foods will contribute to optimal brain functioning and optimal mental health. Use these tools of nutrition to help better your mental health and help you deal with the stresses of being a student at Mines.