Every food contains minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that permeate our entire body, and which can affect it in positive or negative ways.
I struggled with anxiety, panic attacks and depression for many years. And what I didn’t know was the impact that my diet had on my mental health.
You see most people do not associate diet with good brain health.
Did you know that good nutrition is:
Essential for the proper functioning of your brain. Good nutrition can make a lot of difference to your overall well-being and especially your mental health .
Certain foods contain nutrients and vitamins that can boost brain health and improve our mood.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what to do and not do, so I am going to keep simple and focus on “what to include” and “what to limit or avoid” in your diet.
Improving your diet may help to:
- Help you sleep better
- Improve your mood
- Give you more energy
- Help you think more clearly.
- Make you less likely to crave high in sugar, salt and fat
Here Are Three Steps That You Can Take To Boost Your Brain Health
Step1 : Let’ s kick off with a list of the best nutrients for the brain
Omega 3 fatty acids – Seafood, walnuts, Brussels sprouts
Omega-6 fatty acids – Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachios
Lycopene – This is what gives a vivid red hue to tomatoes, watermelon and a few other fruits and vegetables
Alpha- and beta-carotenoids – This is what makes sweet potatoes and carrots orange
Vitamin B – Almonds, sunflower seeds, legumes, dark leafy vegetables
Vitamin D – Sunshine and a few foods like cheese and egg yolks
Step 2 : What to include in your diet:
Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins and fibre we need to keep you physically and mentally healthy.
Deficiencies in folate as well as other B vitamins have been linked with higher rates of depression, fatigue and anxiety
Include:Leafy greens such as kale,spinach, romaine, turnip and mustard greens, and broccoli, they are high in folic acid.
Protein contains amino acids, which make up the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your serotonin , keeping it balanced and has an impact on your thoughts, feelings.
Include: high-quality protein like: eggs, organic chicken breast, organic lean beef, fish-all types, turkey breast and legumes (peas, beans and lentils).
#3- Healthy gut foods
Include: fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and other probiotics.
#4- Healthy fats
Your brain needs fatty acids (such as omega-3 and -6) to keep it working well.
Include:healthy fats like: oily fish, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yoghurt, cheese and eggs.
#5- Fermented foods
The good bacteria in fermented foods directly influences our mood and emotions. Heaps of research links gut health to mental health, and the probiotics and prebiotics in fermented foods actively affect the environment of our tummies.
Eating more of them can help boost brain health and mood
Include:Fermented foods like unsweetened yoghurts, kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut.
Step 3 : What to limit or avoid in your diet:
If eating the above foods helps to boost your mental health, there are certain types of foods that basically do the opposite.
A.Foods to avoid include:
- Sugar – The sugar added to pastries and sweets is highly addictive, and does the opposite to what complex carbohydrates do . Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks can be a great step towards feeling better.
- Alcohol – drinking lots of alcohol can have a negative effect on mental health. Alcohol can interrupt sleep patterns, and affect your ability to focus. Cutting back may help you feel better in the long run.
- Saturated fats– this is the oily stuff you expect from takeaway foods and processed meals. These bad fats can decrease brain function and make it harder to focus and remember things.
- Limit Your Carbohydrate intake:
The 20th century has seen major shifts in dietary intakes globally, with a marked increase in the consumption of sugars, snack foods, take-away foods and high-energy foods.
Excessive consumption of carbohydrates and can affect your cognitive ability and slows down weight loss.
Here are some healthy tips:
- Replace your refined carbohydrates with whole grains
- Avoid excessive amounts of bread and swap white bread for whole-grain bread
- Swap sugary cereals for oatmeal or millet
- Trade rice for quinoa
What does this mean for you?
When it comes to creating new eating habits , setting realistic goals is important. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. The key is finding your own unique eating pattern that gives you the energy and mood to get things done and one that is sustainable over time.
Try and keep it simple, start with small steps .
Now I have a question for you….
- What would be the most helpful thing for you to take away from this article?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please write a comment below.
If you are serious about becoming the expert in positive, healthy habits and ditching self-sabotage, lets discuss your next steps. Contact me for a chat, book a free 15-min mini-coaching session with me and I’ll show you how to transform your life.
It’s Free and it might change your life.
Emotional Eating Coach
BSc (Biomed), Cert IV (PT), Wellness Coach (Level 3))
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