Good nutrition is very important for sound mental health. As nutritional research is progressing, it is becoming clear that the deficiency of certain nutrients can cause mental disorders. Certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids are very effective for countering anxiety and depression.
So, the following are top 10 foods which you can include in your diet to get adequate nutrition for a healthy mind.
Carrots are an excellent nutritional food and can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooked carrots have high levels of beta-carotene and phenolic acid that are useful for memory improvement and for the management of cognitive dysfunctions.
Nature’s greatest snack food, bananas keep you calm and focused, and lessen the feeling of anxiety and stress. They contain an amino acid named tryptophan that helps in preserving memory and boosting your mood. These amino acids make neurotransmitters serotonin that helps regulate your mood. You can freeze the bananas and include them in your smoothies or add sliced bananas to your morning oatmeal breakfast.
Including an apple in your diet can improve your memory and sustain brain health. The antioxidants and flavonoids in apples help in reducing brain cells inflammation. The regular consumption of apples diminishes the accumulation of toxins in the brain and prevents diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Spinach is a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and folate. This dark leafy vegetable is rich in omega 3. Studies show that people who intake 1-2 servings of spinach a day are said to have the mental endurance of those over a decade younger.
Sphingolipids created by vitamin K plays a vital role in brain function. Lutein, folate, and beta-carotene in spinach also play a critical role in brain function. Sauté or steam and incorporate these in your diet from soups to stews to smoothies.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. These seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that come in the form of ALA or Alpha Linolenic Acid that benefits the human brain. 1 ounce of chia seeds contains 95 mg of magnesium which acts as a brain-boosting nutrient and reduces anxiety and depression. Add these little powerhouses in your porridge or smoothies or make a healthy pudding.
Broccoli is rich in two crucial nutrients that help in brain function. Vitamin K boosts cognitive function and sharpens the mind. Choline, the other nutrient, improves memory and is essential for the growth of new brain cells. Including broccoli in your diet keeps you more awake and alert during the day. Broccoli contains folic acid, that helps in preventing depression and also keeps Alzheimer’s at bay.
Eggs are rich in choline, a vitamin B like nutrient. Neurotransmitters are important for brain memory and communication among brain cells which are assisted using choline. Eggs are also a rich source of Vitamin B12. With ageing, our body goes through shrinking of the brain also known as brain atrophy. Vitamin B12 prevents this shrinking, which is also a common symptom in Alzheimer’s. Make this healthy food part of your daily diet by including 1-2/dayS.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this aquatic delight is highly beneficial for the human body. Include one serving of fish per week in your diet to lower the chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Fatty acids protect the brain by coating the neurons with good fat that allow them to move easily throughout the brain and also prevent cholesterol build-up.
Omega-3 also helps in providing more Oxygen to the brain and helps in improved cognition and memory. One fish in a week especially from the family of salmon, tuna, or herring can help reduce the chances of getting Alzheimer’s and if you don’t like eating fish then you can also try taking supplements like fish oil.
All animal liver is high in mental health nutrients. The liver is high in vitamin B6 and B12, protein, potassium, selenium, zinc, iron, and folate. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is important for maintaining proper brain function, improving memory and concentration, and regulation of moods. Eating a small quantity of liver 1-2 times in a week adds to the adequate reserve of B12 in your liver.
Cocoa or dark chocolate is nutritious for the brain. Studies suggest that a single dose of flavanols, the main antioxidant found in cocoa helps in increasing blood flow to the brain. Antioxidants protect the brain by reducing free radical damage, reduce the risk of dementia, and prevent brain ageing.
Having two to three tablespoons of cocoa has more antioxidant content than that found in green tea or red wine. It has a feel-good chemical called endorphins that reduce pain and the effects of stress. The neurotransmitter in cocoa is similar to THC, that is found in marijuana.
Therefore, eating a wholesome nutritious diet can go a long way in improving your mental health. The above-mentioned brain foods can be easily assimilated into your day to day lifestyle. So, cheers to an amazing mental health and have an unmatchable memory and concentration.
Jessica is an avid reader who enjoys getting lost in the world of books. Holding on to her passion for fitness, She Believes that a healthy diet is a key to healthy living.