Natural medicines to improve mental health

Mental health is an incredibly complex, diverse, and vast topic of discussion with many different accumulated experiences or causes. It can often lead to many other different symptoms, including anxiety or depression. The growing trend of doctors prescribing prescriptions for mental disorders without looking at other options has lead to things like a rise in Abilify related compulsive behavior.

An interesting but also vital topic to look into when addressing your mental health would be looking at how the brain works and what you can be doing to be bolstering the brain’s natural rewards system. By engaging your brain’s rewards system naturally through working towards goals achievements, you increase dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine plays an essential role in behavior motivation mechanisms and emotional reward sensations. Most types of rewards increase dopamine levels in the brain, causing satisfying feelings, and this serves as motivation to perform that behavior in the future, creating positive habits. Serotonin regulates mood, memory, appetite and sleep as well as other things, meaning regular levels are essential for mental health. Low dopamine is associated with a lack of motivation. Low serotonin is associated with insomnia, decreased empathy, anxiety disorders, memory and learning impairment, mood changes and depression. We, therefore, want to be engaging our brain’s natural rewards system as much as possible to keep everything ticking away as it should be and reducing our likelihood of mental health symptoms through positive lifestyle habits, such as good diet and exercise, focusing on your goals and avoiding wasting days.

We know through clinical data that inflammation in your body directly affects your mental health as well as physical health and is caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices. We know from clinical studies that some foods cause more inflammation than others and should, therefore, be avoided – sugar and processed foods are the biggest culprits for this. Therefore our biggest and most powerful tool to naturally tackle mental health is through consciously cleaning our diets up, decreasing food intake that causes inflammation and increasing foods and activities that reduce inflammation.

Freezing cold showers are shown to reduce inflammation in your body and also raise PH levels of our blood through increased oxygen intake during this time. As well as changes happening on a cellular level, you actually feel great mental clarity after a cold shower.

A common misconception is that we require carbohydrates and glucose to create energy for our body and brain to work correctly. This is incorrect and is actually the least efficient natural process we have. By decreasing carbohydrates, sugars, and fructose intake and increase healthy fat intake, our liver starts to adapt to burning fat for ketones. Ketones are an incredibly more efficient and outright better fuel for our body and are also our brains preferred source making everything tick over much better in terms of cognition and improving mental health. 

Intermittent fasting is an excellent way to start adapting your body to ketones and also induces processes called AMPK and Autophagy. AMPK activation has been shown to reduce cholesterol/ triglyceride production and suppress chronic inflammation. Autophagy is the natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that removes dysfunctional components. It allows the orderly degradation and recycling of cellular components. Both of these processes naturally clean up the body and reduce inflammation and therefore improving mental health. 

Green tea, ginger, turmeric, yerba mate tea, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar all increase the AMPK and autophagy processes, as well as having tonnes of other health benefits, and are perfect for consuming during your intermittent fast. Another important intake would be Omega 3s, as this cannot be produced naturally in the body and is essential for neurogenesis, meaning that it has to be consumed through either a supplement or diet. 

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  1. Mental Health via Holistic Medicine | Alternative Medicine Magazine

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