The food that we put into our bodies can dramatically affect how we feel and how we function. Several foods contain specific vitamins and minerals that can dramatically improve your overall mental health. We bet many of them are already regulars in your diet (and they’re delicious too)!
Berries, berries, berries
Berries are full of antioxidants and flavonoids that help in repairing damaged cells caused by free radicals around your body. Due to this reduction, the connection between berries and mental health is strong, with these antioxidants assisting in the reduction of feelings associated with anxiety and depression.
Blueberries are in fact, one of the fruits with the highest levels of flavonoids. A study done with a group of children and young adults found that consuming blueberries lead to a dramatic positive mood boost after 2 hours from consumption, such as joy, interest, and alertness.
Omega-3 Filled, Oily Fish
Delicious oily fish such as tuna, salmon, and prawns contain substantial amounts of two types of omega-3’s, being DHA and EPA. Omega-3 has powerful effects on your brain’s overall health, including memory loss, learning capabilities, boosting your mood, and improving its overall functioning. It helps to circulate serotonin and dopamine around your body, which are our feel-good, mood-improving chemicals!
Omega-3 is also a really great anti-inflammatory property, lowering depressive inflammation throughout the brain and entire body. If you are not too keen on eating oily fish, fish oil supplements are a very convenient and easy way to get the right amount of omega-3 into your body daily! Omega-3 can also be found in many seeds and nuts such as chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
All the Green Veggies
Veggies seem to receive a whole lot of praise for being so beneficial to SO many parts of your overall health – and it is absolutely warranted! On top of being great for your body’s functioning, its positive impact on your mental health is pretty impressive too.
With several vegetables being made up of complex, ‘smart’ carbohydrates, the energy is released into your body at a slower rate, not spiking your blood sugar, keeping your mood and energy levels constant longer term. To find out more about the difference between smart and not-so-smart carbs, head here!
According to a study, leafy greens, in particular, have benefits towards a slower rate of cognitive decline, being one of the most beneficial for mental clarity and functioning.
The term ‘gut health’ has really taken off recently, with evidence showing its strong correlation with many parts of the body’s overall health, including, brain health! Fermented foods such as kombucha and yoghurt, have been deemed ‘functional foods’, meaning they do more for your body than just providing necessary nutritional benefits.
Its positive impacts on the brain are due to the high levels of good bacteria and probiotics found in these foods, as well as a range of neurotransmitters, which assist in improving your mood and boosting the function of your brain. Ultimately, a healthy gut leads to a healthy mind.
We have mentioned the great hormone that is serotonin a few times! Well, guess what? Wholegrains actually contain an amino acid that helps produce this wonderful hormone, making whole grains such as corn, quinoa, oats, and rye really positive towards your mood and wellbeing, as well as providing you with essential nutrients, such as fibre. Serotonin encourages calming of the mind, helping with sleep as well as overall mood improvement.
Dark Chocolate… YES PLEASE!
We definitely saved the best for last here! 70% dark chocolate and above is the key here, with the basic rule being the higher the percentage, the better the chocolate is for you. Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate can lead to dramatic improvements in mood.
This is due to cocoa containing psychoactive ingredients that can often provide a feeling of euphoria to a person. It is also known to contain phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator that is believed to be important for regulating mood. So whip out that Lindt chocolate (but not tooo much, and enjoy!)
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