Eating seasonal produce has a range of benefits for both our health and the environment. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are often fresher, more flavorful, and more nutrient-dense than produce that has traveled long distances or been in cold storage for extended periods. Eating seasonally also supports local farmers and helps to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting produce from faraway places. Additionally, seasonal produce can be more affordable, as there is an abundance of it during peak harvest times. By incorporating seasonal produce into our diets, we can nourish our bodies with fresh and nutritious foods while supporting our local communities and the planet.
May is a month when many delicious fruits and vegetables are in season. Some of the seasonal produce for May includes asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cherries, peas, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, and zucchini. Incorporating these fresh, nutritious ingredients into our meals is a great way to support our health and wellness while enjoying the flavors of the season.
May Foods that Support Mental Health
1. Asparagus - Asparagus is a great source of folate, a B-vitamin that helps to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, a key hormone that regulates mood. Studies have linked low levels of folate to an increased risk of depression and anxiety, making asparagus a great addition to a mental health supportive diet. In addition to folate, asparagus is also rich in fiber, which can help to support healthy digestion and promote feelings of fullness. If you're not a fan of asparagus, you can also get folate from leafy greens like spinach and kale, or take a folate supplement.
2. Spinach - Spinach is rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help to alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation. Magnesium helps to regulate the body's stress response and can improve sleep quality, which can be especially beneficial for individuals with anxiety or depression. Spinach is also a good source of vitamin C, which has been linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which can be elevated in individuals with depression. If you're not a fan of spinach, you can also get magnesium from other leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale, or take a magnesium supplement.
3. Strawberries - Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, which has been linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression. This antioxidant vitamin also helps to reduce inflammation, which is often elevated in individuals with depression. Strawberries are also a good source of fiber, which can help to support healthy digestion and promote feelings of fullness. If you're not a fan of strawberries, you can also get vitamin C from other fruits like oranges and kiwi, or take a vitamin C supplement.
4. Broccoli - Broccoli contains high levels of sulforaphane, a compound that has been shown to have antidepressant-like effects. Sulforaphane helps to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, which can contribute to depression and anxiety. Broccoli is also a good source of fiber, which can help to support healthy digestion and promote feelings of fullness. If you're not a fan of broccoli, you can also get sulforaphane from other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, or take a sulforaphane supplement.
5. Cherries - Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Good sleep is crucial for mental health, and getting enough quality sleep can help to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Cherries are also a good source of antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation in the body. If you're not a fan of cherries, you can also get melatonin from other fruits like bananas and pineapples, or take a melatonin supplement.
In conclusion, incorporating seasonal produce into your diet is a simple and effective way to support your mental health. May offers a variety of fruits and vegetables that are not only delicious but also rich in nutrients that can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you're struggling to incorporate these foods into your diet or have specific concerns about supplementation for mental health, don't hesitate to book a complimentary consultation with our Chief Clinical Officer Camila Smith to discuss dietary and supplement changes you can make to support your mental health.
For a deeper look into healthy food habits and a longer list of anxiety-reducing foods, check out our Healthy Habits Guide.