It’s no secret that healthy eating can mean long-term health benefits such as a reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. But did you know that certain foods can also improve your mental health, mood and overall sense of well-being?
Many studies have shown that eating more of certain foods can stabilize mood, reduce depression, improve learning ability, increase energy levels, and improve self-esteem. All that from a few diet changes! Here are the best foods to stock up on to ensure a healthy mind as well as a healthy body.
1. Oily Fish
Studies have found that an Omega-3 can reduce the susceptibility of depression and low mood and reduce the severity. Omega-3 is a fatty acid and an essential component in our brains. Since our body doesn’t make this fatty acid we need to get it from our diet. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are great sources of Omega-3. Eating fish regularly will help give your brain a health-boost and lift your mood.
Bananas are a wonder-food, packed full of goodness! It is a great source of amino acid tryptophan which improves sleep quality, reduces insomnia and helps to improve mood. Bananas are also full of vitamins (A, B6 and C), fibre, potassium, phosphorous, iron and carbohydrates. The carbs help the absorption of tryptophan in the brain, while vitamin B6 helps convert it into serotonin... the mood-boosting hormone.
Yogurt is already popular health food for its probiotics properties helping our digestive system but recent studies suggest that yogurt can make you feel good, mentally and emotionally. Thanks to the brain-gut connection, as the probiotics affects your gut, this in turn moderates the brain functions, improving emotional behavior, and reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Not only are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries some of the nation’s favorite fruity snacks, but they are all great antioxidants. Antioxidants helps to repair cells, combat inflammation, and improves symptoms of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Nuts aren’t called ‘brain food’ for nothing! Recent studies have shown that eating certain kinds of nuts can improve overall mood and reduce the symptoms of depression, irritability, anxiety and relieve tiredness. Walnuts are one of the best nuts to snack on. They are rich in antioxidants and can even help us grow new brain cells. Cashews are another mood-food, high in tryptophan for increased serotonin levels.
Whole-wheat products, bulgur, oats, wild rice, barley, beans and soy are all excellent and healthy sources of complex carbohydrates- the good carbs! Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, which means the glucose is produced more slowly, giving our brains a more consistent source of energy. Wholegrains are also rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that helps us produce serotonin, the hormone partly responsible for good moods and quality sleep.
Spinach is another superfood with multiple health benefits. Not only is it linked to reducing the risk of dementia, but its high concentration of tryptophan, B6, zinc, and folic acid, acts as a serotonin boost for your brain. It’s like nature’s very own antidepressant!
Adding a few of these healthy food items to your shopping list and enjoy a whole host of health and well-being benefits plus the good mood that goes along with it!