Bell Let’s Talk day was January 31st, 2018

Bell Let’s Talk has been happening since 2010, every year on the same day. It started in September 2010 where Bell began a new conversation about Canada’s mental health. At that time, and even still today, talking about mental illness was stigmatized, but the numbers spoke volumes about the urgent need for action.

Did you know 500,00 Canadians, in any given week, are unable to work due to mental health problems?

Or that 1 in 3 workplace disability claims are related to mental illness?

Bell Let’s Talk has donated over 93.4 million to institutions and organizations in every region to increase funding and access for Canadians. This year there was a record 138,383,995 calls, texts, tweets, video views, and use of their Facebook frame and Snapchat filter on Bell Let’s Talk Day. That means an additional $6,919,199.75 will be donated to mental health initiatives in Canada. In 2017, $6,585,250 was raised mental health.

Bell Let’s Talk brings communities and people together. People from all over share stories about the struggles they have had with mental health, whether it be depression, anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders, people open their hearts. They share their personal story with the world in the hopes it decreases stigma, or that those words will reach at least person to give them the strength to go on.

My hope is that these stories, these words of support will continue to be shared not only January 31st of each year, but every day. That we can approach mental illness gently and support our friends and family members in whatever way they need. Remembering, this may not be advice needed, it may not be to solve a problem, it may just be to listen, to sit in silence together, and to just be.

I believe our physical health is directly related to our mental and spiritual health as well. When we’re not eating right or moving enough, our mood is usually affected. Unfortunately, when our mood is low, it can be challenging to get the motivation to cook a nutritious meal or go to the gym. I have sat with people for a nutrition appointment, to never mention anything about food or nutrition during our time. In the end, I think it’s important to be gentle with ourselves, to take small steps, one at a time.

There are some foods that have been linked to helping with mood! These foods, of course, are not a substitution for any medications or therapy one may be receiving but could be used in combination.

**Please speak with your pharmacist or physician if you plan on starting any supplements**

Foods that help boost mood

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, known as our mood regulator, and is made in the brain from the amino acid tryptophan along with the help of B vitamins. Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, legumes, vegetables) are critical in our production of tryptophan, along with protein-containing foods. Tryptophan is important because it is an amino acid that is a precursor for serotonin. You can find tryptophan in egg whites, cod, soybeans, cheese, turkey, chicken and many other foods. Folate, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6 seem to be the most critical B vitamins when it comes to serotonin production. You can find folate in dark green leafy veggies and legumes while animal foods provide B12 and B6.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that functions as a natural reward and feel-good chemical. This is why boosting dopamine could result in an increased mood. Tyrosine is an amino acid that boosts dopamine production and thankfully tyrosine can be found in many different foods, animal, and plant. Some of these foods include parmesan cheese, soybeans, beef, eggs, nuts, and seeds.

Dark Chocolate produces a compound in the brain that can actually temporarily block feelings of pain and depression, nifty right?! It also contains other chemicals that can prolong the “feel-good” feeling, which is why chocolate is a go-to when you’re feeling down.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the brain and heart for so many reasons, one of which being that they support neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, thus help serotonin and dopamine do their job. Good dietary sources of omega-3s include oily fish, walnuts, flax seeds, chia, and hemp seeds.

As always, if you’re looking to better your health and wellness, come chat with me for FREE so we can work together on a plan that will help you achieve your goals!

Nutritiously yours,