The mind is a terrible thing to waste so don’t miss the opportunity to give your brain all that it needs with mind boosting nutrients like Folic Acid, Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids. Mood swings…. Depression…. Anxiety…. What you eat affects the makeup and function of how your brain performs and an unhealthy diet puts you at risk for depression and anxiety compared to a healthy high fiber diet. While eating unhealthy "fuel" aka food for your body, your brain is one of the first organs in your body to be instantly affected.
Consuming foods high in vitamin D are related to lower risk of depression while also beneficial for your skin, hair, nails, liver and red blood cell production. Great sources of vitamin D include leafy green vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts. Not only is vitamin D needed for calcium absorption related to strong muscles, teeth and bones plus immunity, but a deficiency in vitamin D is associated with high rates of depression. Add vitamin D sources such as salmon, tuna, orange juice (but minimal) and whole grain breakfast cereals. Or even better hang out in the sun for 5-30 minutes 2x a week for a great natural vitamin D source from the sunlight. During fall and winter months when the sun exposure is less consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
Omega 3 fatty acids have a connection with mood -stabilizing effects but may also be beneficial in helping youth with ADHD because of its same effectiveness of conventional antidepressants. Add these omega 3s to your plate: salmon, trout, mackerel, anchovies and sardines, walnuts, flax (or flaxseed oil), olive oil, fresh basil and dark green leafy vegetables. Check out some of the top foods that contribute to your brain health and provide you with the right fuel needed for longevity.
You probably know salmon is a great source of protein, omega 3 and B vitamins. But salmon provides tryptophan which changes to serotonin. Serotonin regulates the mood in our brains. Eat salmon on a bed of quinoa or brown rice paired with a side of broccoli for essential nutrients!
Beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age related memory loss. Because berries have a high level of antioxidants, compounds that protect cells from damage and change the way neurons communicate in the brain. Berries are also capable of improving motor control and cognition. Add berries to your whole grain cereal or as a snack in between meals.
The smell of broccoli may not be many peoples favorite but its trace mineral, chromium makes this food top of the list from controlling mood regulators in the brain. Pair your broccoli with cauliflower for the ultimate brain power of nutrients. Mix your broccoli with a 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette dressing; the vinegar in the dressing helps the nutrients in the broccoli absorb better in your gut!
Typically mixed in with other varieties of nuts and seeds if purchased, Brazilian nuts are the best pertaining to mental health benefits with sources of vitamin E, magnesium and tryptophan (a mood enhancer). The best part is you only need half a handful (about 6) to receive your daily requirement of selenium. A few of these nuts are great to make your own trail mix, so combine some dried raisins or craisins and sunflower seeds or almonds to make a great balanced trail mix.
So, do you want to get on track? Then start by examining what you currently eat and eliminate all processed foods (foods with no fiber) for 2-3 weeks. Then eat an abundance of all vegetables (including starchy and non-starchy vegetables), fruit, whole wheat grains (like brown rice, quinoa), beans, legumes and nuts/seeds. Take note how your body feels and how much more you become focused with positive mood changes throughout the day.
Eat Well. Be Well. Live Well.
Whitney and Jaz
Psychology Today. Selenium and the Brian. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201110/selenium-and-the-brain. Accessed on May 20,12019.
American Psychological Association. The link between food and mental health. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/food-mental-health. Accessed on May 20th, 2019.
Mental Health America. Healthy Diet: Eating with Mental Health in Mind. https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/healthy-diet-eating-mental-health-mind. Accessed on May 20,2019.