Tag Archives: Mental health

Food For Your Mood: Foods That Help Fight Depression

Mental illness is largely prevalent in Australia, with 3 million individuals living with anxiety or depression every day and an estimated 45% experiencing a mental health condition at least once in their lifetime. According to The National Health and Medical Research Council, our diets have taken a turn for the worst since the 20th century, negatively impacting the overall health of individuals on a global scale. Mental illness conditions have also increased significantly, particularly anxiety and depression.

While there is no dietary cure for depression, research has revealed that a healthier diet may help improve the physical and psychological health of those suffering from depression/or anxiety and ultimately fight to prevent it.

If you’re feeling down, stressed or anxious, why not try improving your eating habits? As the old adage goes, “you are what you eat”! Here, we’ve rounded up some mood-boosters for your next culinary masterpiece!

Fats are your friends

Before you stock up on an endless supply of chocolate; we mean healthy fats, also known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Coined as one of the healthiest of all fats, monounsaturated fat is beneficial for your heart and brain, helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and promoting healthy brain function and blood flow. Delicious food sources of monounsaturated fats are avocadoes, nuts and plant-based liquid oils such us olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil and sesame oil.

Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and provide the essential nutrients to help protect your body’s cells. Delicious food sources of monounsaturated fats are fish such as salmon and mackerel, nuts, seeds, tofu and sunflower oil.


Protein is packed with amino acids, which helps manage neurological function so that you can maintain happy thoughts and feelings all day!

Great sources of protein can be found in lean meat such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken and turkey, fish, cheese, eggs, lentils, black beans, nuts and seeds.

Leafy greens

Lush leafy greens such as spinach, kale and bok choy contain calcium, magnesium, and essential vitamins – most notably, folate, which is a water-soluble B vitamin and known to boost serotonin levels.

These nutrient-dense leafy greens are also full of chlorophyll, which helps purify the blood and assist in healthy liver function.

Popeye had it right when he chose his trusty can of spinach to boost his energy!

Fermented foods and Probiotics

Feeling bloated, blue and not quite yourself? You’re not alone. Scientific research has shed an important light on the link between gut health and mental health. The gut is often coined as our “second brain,” because it has its own nervous system that signals our brain through the vagus nerve – which can be why we often feel nauseous in our stomach when we’re really stressed out.

According to the Journal of Probiotics & Health (JPH), the key to better gut health is by replacing the bad bacteria, often found in highly processed and sugary foods, with good bacteria such as fermented foods and probiotics.

So what are probiotic foods?

“Probiotic foods are foods that contain live and active bacterial cultures. Probiotic foods also have benefit to the process of fermentation. Probiotics are widely used to prepare fermented dairy products such as yogurt or freeze-dried cultures. During fermentation, carbohydrates in the food are broken down into acids by various kinds of probiotic bacteria and/or yeast.”  The Journal of Probiotics & Health (JPH)

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, as well as Keffir, which is a popular fermented drink with a similar yogurt-like consistency.

You can also get your probiotic fix by adding tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha and pickles to your diet.

Starving for a new adventure? Check out our upcoming challenges in our calendar!

Men’s Health: Movember ends, but the conversation continues

Movember has come to a close and soon many men will be shaving their bushy upper lips. Those fibrous hairs signified a part of the continuing exploration into bettering Australian men’s health. While the month and moustaches are finishing, the movement needs to keep growing.

Men’s health is in a bad state. The statistics tell a sobering story. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), men have a lower life expectancy, are more likely to engage in risky behaviour, make up 92% of people in prison, have alarming adverse mental health rates and are at increased risk of many other health conditions. But it is not just these statistics, it is also the everyday experience of being a man that is worrying.

A lack of strong male role models can be isolating for young men who are still seeking an identity. In a world where 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their life, and domestic violence continues to be a worldwide problem — the consequences are far-reaching.

Fundamentally, we are copy-cat animals who seek suitable humans to learn life skills from. Some of the skills we learn from Australian men, whether in the media, in the government or in the typical household can be emotionally deficient. Whether it is to lean upon alcohol in social interactions, to stay silent through suffering or to respond with aggression, we are undoubtedly doing something wrong. Small issues can become life-shattering problems when men do not open up about their health, including mental health, and mask emotions, which happens all too often.


It is not the man sitting alone in the bar with a schooner that is the problem; it is all the men who feel isolated in world of 7 billion people. We are social creatures and require full social intimacy to survive. The barrier that we draw with jokes, alcohol, cigarettes, big houses, gaming etc. has fenced out the ability for others to help us. It might appear that most men feel more comfortable opening up with their partners, but without previous experiences and habits of healthy communication, many men are unable to explain what is happening to them.

The greatest would-be empathisers to this issue, other men, are socially discouraged from engaging in an open and emotional dialogue with their fellow sufferers. There is always a threat of violence or denial underlying serious male to male interaction. Even when men are able to break through this barrier, it is treading a new path and feels alien and uncomfortable. Without touch (which is discouraged), shared tears (unthinkable) or constant checking in (where is the time?), many issues are dismissed.

Yet, things can change for the better. We are at the beginning of a paradigm shift. For the first time in modern Australian history we are beginning to identify and deal with our health. The rewards of healing are immense. We have an opportunity to develop genuine relationships, save our fellow men from prison and set up a better world for the next generation.

How do we achieve all of this? We begin to talk with each other.

We need to start talking intimately. In certain contexts, our conversations should have no barriers. That means no authoritarianism, no drugs, no racism, no sexism. Through removing barriers, there is less to hide behind and less pressure to conform to a set of habits. These conversations should be intentional, not accidental or purely reactive. It might be uncomfortable at first, but asking more questions will give greater opportunities for opening up.

This process is not easy. If the current reflection of society is accurate, it is easier to run a marathon or work a 9-5 job for 40 years than it is for Australian men to talk about their emotions and physical health.

The path will be long and as with any great change, it will take generations before men reduce the numbers of the alarming statistics. So as Movember comes to an end, let this be the beginning of a change that will give future men a better chance than the average man of today. Find the space and time to talk about the reality of being an Australian male.

Ultimately, the issues facing men are also issues facing our society. Without a healthy role model, a boy is unlikely to learn what it means to be a good man. And without greater urgency to get help before it’s too late, we could lose those men closest to us, much too early.

If you or someone you know is struggling to cope, no matter how big or small it may seem – you can seek help by calling beyondblue’s support service line on 1300 22 4636 or visiting the Mental Health Foundation website in New Zealand.


Mental Health: It’s everyone’s issue

Mental health has recently taken centre stage on the social agenda and we couldn’t be happier about it. The larger community’s response to mental health has typically been distinctively different from that of physical ailments, and mental illness often goes unnoticed or is dismissed due to its lack of observable “symptoms”. There is wide misconception about the seriousness of mental illness, and this dismissive attitude has created a response of guilt and secrecy from the mentally ill.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenges mental illness brings – to both sufferers and their loved ones, and ultimately to society. As someone who has been on both sides of the fence and can certainly relate to this feeling of disempowerment I can sympathise with the feeling that to ignore the issue might be the easiest approach. However, it is important that we no longer bury our head in the sand and tackle these issues head on. Each of us has the ability to have an impact, whether it be on an individual level, as an active member of society or even on via political platforms. Here’s how!

The Individual

In the face of adversity, we must never overlook our individual ability to make a difference. There are many behaviours we can adopt that make a real difference to those around us suffering from a variety of mental illnesses – most importantly through our use of language.
On the most basic level, we simply need people to talk! Talk about mental illness widely and freely, and in doing so you will create an open dialogue. Because the symptoms of mental illness are very rarely physical, or at least not easily identifiable to others, there is a lot of shame and secrecy surrounding the issue. A contributing factor to this is people’s response to those who do open up about their condition – they are often met with remarks such as “Are you sure? It doesn’t really like you have that condition” or “I have a friend who suffers from that and she definitely has it worse! You should be really grateful yours isn’t that bad”. Comments such as these come from a place of naivety, not of malice, yet they can be really damaging to a person who has chosen to show their vulnerabilities. The amount of time people spend explaining their experience of mental illness is exhausting, and often results in reclusion and secrecy, to avoid yet another uncomfortable interrogation.

Here are some quick go-tos:

  • Be aware
  • Educate yourself
  • Never question someone’s illness, or tell them you know better
  • Be aware of the language you use
  • Inform yourself of how to talk about mental illness in a positive way

Alone Young Woman in Red Hooded Shirt Sitting at the Edge of Wooden Ocean Jetty Looking at Water - Hopelessness, Solitude, Alienation Concept

The Social

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

There are many avenues for instigating awareness and change within your family and social circles. Beyond promoting positive use of language and awareness through your own actions, how about boldly encouraging others to do the same? Start with the family, and make sure that everyone in your immediate circle are aware of the hardships that people affected by illness face each and every day. What about the workplace? Show initiative by encouraging greater education and engagement within your workplace! Here at Inspired Adventures we nominated a day for staff to wear their yoga gear, bring a $5 donation for a mental health charity, and spent our lunchtime together bringing awareness to and checking in with how each person was feeling. Checking in with one another on a regular basis, and promoting happy and healthy work/life balance is a great way to create a safe and open environment for staff.
You could always take your involvement a step further, by seeking out and taking part in mental health awareness campaigns! Signing up to email alerts, newsletters and Facebook groups is a sure fire way to stay up to date with the events and campaigns happening in your area.

The Political

As members of a democratic society, we must make the most of our collective voice; power of the people (i.e. YOU!) is an incredibly influential tool and we should use this as best we can to create the changes we want to see. While we don’t have a say in the day to day decisions of our government, we can engage in campaigning and lobbying initiative as a way to grab the attention of our politicians, and demand a government which provides the services and support we wish to see surrounding mental health. As it stands, access to public mental health services is difficult at best, which has driven mental health services to become highly privatised, and easily accessible to only the wealthy and elite. As such, many suffering from mental illness push their need for medical assistance aside, perpetuating the issue and leaving them feeling vulnerable and powerless. Jump on board with mental health campaigns, or use a platform to create your own, and watch the amazing snowball effect that happens when people take the time to care.

Feeling inspired?

  • If you’re passionate about mental health issues, visit our calendar to find the perfect challenge and mental health charity to support!