Foods To Improve Your Mental Health
We talk a lot about physical health, strength, and appearance, but talk of mental health seldom happens. There’s no doubt that a healthy diet is essential for both the body and mind, but what many don’t know is that there are foods that specifically improve mental health and wellness.
For example, nutrients that play an important role in improving our mental health are omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamin D, the vitamin B family, magnesium, and tryptophan.
Additionally, research from the State University of New York at Binghamton also discovered that the effect of different food items on an individual’s psychological pattern depends on factors like their age. In other words, our brain’s structure keeps changing as we age, and the same food can have different effects for two different individuals of different or the same age.
Now, without further ado, let’s begin and find out what’s best to eat for mental health.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
According to a study by the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand, increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables can improve psychological well-being in just 2 weeks. More specifically, eating one cup of fresh fruits and two cups of vegetables per day increases motivation, vitality and positive attitude in the brain. They also lower the chances of getting other ailments like heart disease, high blood pressure, weakness and even some cancers, which works to improve psychological health.
2. Fresh, Cold-Pressed Juice
Drinking freshly made cold-pressed juice provides a perfect alternative to eating fresh fruits and vegetables because they’re rich in every nutrient that’s found in the raw fruits and vegetables themselves. This is because cold-pressed juice is made by using an advanced technology that preserves nutritional value at its best, and you can even make it without cutting or chopping the produce.
Lentils are rich in many brain-boosting vitamins and minerals that take care of our brains as we age; they keep our memory sharp and strengthen it for better performance. Lentils are also full of vitamin B members like folate, thiamin and vitamin B6, and iron and zinc, two minerals that provide energy and boost our memory.
Almost every Indian mother gives soaked almonds to her kids to boost their mental abilities. Almonds are known as brain food because they’re rich in nutritious elements that strengthen our brain and decrease its degeneration as we age. Even better:
- Almonds are rich in lean proteins that repair brain cells and improve its cognitive abilities
- Almonds contain zinc that fights free radicals, which are responsible for damaging brain cells
- Almonds contain vitamin B6 to promote brain health, and vitamin E to prevent brain cells from aging
Beetroot is a superfood for the brain that improves its capabilities and helps fight depression. The nitrate present in beets help increase blood flow to the brain, and improved blood flow means an increased supply of oxygen to parts of the brain that are deficient. This dark red vegetable is also rich in a number of vitamins and micronutrients like vitamins A, C and K, beta-carotene, polyphenols, antioxidants and folate, and delivers a number of other health benefits as well.
Mint is known for its strong aroma and cooling sensation. It’s used in a small amount in salads, dressings, and sauces to bring out its flavor, and provides significant health benefits, including improved brain health and function. This is because mint is rich in vitamins A and C, manganese, iron, and folate, which help improve learning skills, prevent cognitive decline, increase alertness, and decrease fatigue and anxiety.
7. Dark Chocolate
Increased blood flow to the brain is one of the most important things responsible for its improved capability, and dark chocolate does exactly that; it improves the supply of oxygen to the brain and helps boost our memory, attention span, reaction time and problem-solving skills. For one, the flavonoids present in dark chocolate are antioxidants that prevent brain cell damage. Second, it’s also one of the best food items to combat anxiety and depression. Make sure to consume a small amount of dark chocolate regularly to gain the most benefits.
Our diet and mental health are closely connected. Be mindful of what you eat and give your mind and body everything they need to be healthy. Just make sure to pair your diet with regular exercise routines to help you feel relaxed and release feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin, which improve your mood and make you feel good.
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