Most times, when planning our diets, we tend to focus only on food that will enable us to lose weight. This isn’t bad, but learning to plan diets based on promoting the wholeness of the body is better. For your brain to function properly, it needs food.
Certain foods have shown to be highly beneficial to your mental health, and below are some of them. You must incorporate one or more of them into your daily diet.
10 Healthiest Foods for Mental Health
Below are some of the healthiest foods for mental health, which can boost your mood.
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains contain complex carbohydrate that helps the production of glucose in the body, which is converted as a source of energy for the body. The brain also utilized this produced glucose for energy.
Whole grains go further in helping the brain absorb tryptophan, especially when eaten together with white meat like foods like chicken and turkey. This absorbed tryptophan helps to fight off the symptoms of anxiety and depression and helps to boost the overall functioning of the brain.
Examples of whole grains are oats, beans, wild rice, and soy.
Salmon is at the top of the list amongst the fish that helps to boost brain functioning. Salmon fish is a “fatty” fish containing large quantities of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D that help to fight mental disorders such as depression.
Omega-3s mainly help to improve your learning abilities. Other fish that is rich in Omega-3 include mackerel, tuna, and herring.
3. Chicken or Turkey
Chicken and turkey are both lean-protein rich in amino acid tryptophan, which helps your body produce serotonin, which is effective in helping your brain fight depression, maintain your mood, and aid strong memory abilities.
4. Leafy Vegetables
Leafy greens, especially spinach, are rich in folic acid, which helps to fight insomnia. Insomnia is a sleeping disorder that causes mental impairments. The folic acids in the leafy vegetables also help fight dementia in older adults and reduce depression.
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics which plays a huge role in reducing anxiety and stress.
Also, yogurt contains potassium and magnesium, which aids oxygen movement in the brain and increases its functionality.
Avocado is an excellent source of folate and Vitamin K source that helps protect your brain against stroke. Also, it helps to boost your concentration and memory capacity. Also, Avocado’s lutein component helps improve your brain functionalities. There are many more health benefits of avocados.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is another excellent healthy food for mental health. The darker, the better. Studies have shown that 85% cocoa or more is greatly beneficial to your mental health.
Dark chocolate is an excellent source of flavonoids, an antioxidant that fights cognitive decline in older adults, boosts memory and attention, and enhances mood. However, they should be taken in moderation.
Nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that prevent depression. Cashews nuts especially contain a good quantity of magnesium that helps to provide the brain with oxygen to function properly.
Almond nuts are an excellent source of phenylalanine, which helps to produce dopamine and other neurotransmitters that help reduce Parkinson’s disease symptoms and improve your mood.
9. Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil, not just any type, but the pure extra virgin one, is an excellent source of polyphenols, which removes the effects of proteins linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Also, it boosts learning abilities.
While purchasing olive oil, go for brands tested and confirmed to sell extra virgin olive oil because most of the olive oil in the market is mixed, reducing their mental health benefits.
Lycopene, the source of tomatoes’ red hue, helps boost phytonutrients that help the brain fight off brain disease. Also, this has been shown to delay the appearance and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, which affects the brain’s cells.
Also, lycopene helps to improve your logic, concentration, attention, and memory.
For optimum mental health functioning, you must avoid food that worsens your mental health, such as processed food, refined cereals, pastries, fried food, candy, and high-fat dairy products. Instead you should always opt for these healthiest foods for mental health.
Your mental health is crucial as it influences your overall functioning, including work productivity. So take it seriously, and stay only with diets that help boost it.