Food is mostly associated with physical health and wellbeing. If we are looking obese, we switch to diet food. If we are suffering from diabetes, then sugar is removed from our plate. Similarly, people trying to build their muscles seek out protein-rich food. However, in this search for the perfect food that keeps the body fit, we tend to ignore the food requirements for a healthy mind. It’s a general misconception that mental health could only be improved by engaging in crossword puzzles and memory games. The truth is that there are many brain foods that would enhance your mental health and keep it stable even at an advanced age. Let’s check these super foods now.
- Walnut: Shaped like a brain, these nuts provide you long-lasting mental health. Walnuts are packed with antioxidants that help to inhibit oxidation in both body and mind. In some cases they also boost the growth of new neurons. Hence, we can benefit by new brain cells and thereby increase our mental health. So, next time you have this urge to snack, just munch on a handful of walnuts to energize and strengthen your brain.
- Oily fish: Oily fish like prawns, trout, and salmons are rich in DHA, an Omega 3 fatty acid that assist in strengthening both short-term and long-term memory. This helps your brain to enjoy optimal health. Moreover, an Omega 3 fatty acid rich diet elevates the feeling of wellness and mental health and minimizes the anxiety level. Hence, oily fish is considered a good brain food. If you dislike eating fish then you can have fish oil supplements.
- Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes contain a healthy dose of antioxidant beta-carotene that assists in reducing damage to brain cells. Hence, a regular consumption of sweet potato is good for mental health.
- Wholegrains: Whole grains have an abundance of tryptophan, an amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a “feel good” hormone that helps in mood enhancement, mind calming, and steady sleep. Hence, it is essential to include wholegrains into your diet plan for both mental and physical health.
- Leafy Greens: Leafy greens come with a host of health benefits- both mental and physical. A recent neurological study stated that a daily consumption of leafy greens like kale and spinach slows down the cognitive decline ensuring better mental health even at advanced age. So, make your plate more colorful and pile up your plate with different varieties of green.
- Bananas: Bananas are natural mood enhancers as they affect tryptophan. Tryptophan also aids in better sleep and food intake.
- Yoghurt: Studies (found in journals like Frontiers in Psychiatry and University of Virginia Health System) show a connection between gut health and brain. Hence, the probiotic benefits of yoghurt also have a positive impact on the brain health of a person. So, a regular bowl of yoghurt would help you with decreased anxiety, stress, and depression.
- Berries (All kinds): Berries like blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries provides the necessary antioxidant to your body. These antioxidants help in cell repairs and combat inflammation due to free radical damage. This helps in reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. Moreover, berries come packed with polyphenolics that aids memory enhancement, attention span, and concentration. So, the next time you have this important board meeting or exam, snack on few berries for better attention and concentration.
- Beans: Beans contain antioxidants and fiber that maintain the blood sugar, keeps you feeling full, and helps you in burning more energy. They also contain thiamine that produces acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for better memory. Hence, a regular consumption of beans elevates your mood and enhances your memory.
- Lentils: Lentils have a high amount of Vitamin B foliate which are essential for serotonin production. Serotonin is a happy hormone which is responsible to keep the person happy and stress-free. Moreover, lentils contain lower glycemic index thereby allowing the blood sugar to rise at a gradual rate. This regulates blood sugar which ensures mood and energy consistency.
There are quite a few foods that boost our mental health and emotional well-being and consuming them would be beneficial to both body and mind. However, besides eating these super foods, we must also engage in other activities such as regular mental and physical exercises, the right doze of sleep and relaxation, and a disciplined yet filling lifestyle.