What you put in your body doesn’t just affect your physical health but also your mental health. Certain nutrients and minerals like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and tryptophan have significant effects on the neurotransmitters that affect our mood and behaviour. Here are some foods to keep in mind:
9 foods to help improve mental health
Omega-3 fatty acids are key when it comes to supporting healthy brain functions and reducing mental health issues like depression as many studies have suggested. Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based foods to have omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also an excellent source of antioxidants, molybdenum, and vitamin B.
If antioxidants were currency, berries would be near the top of the Fortune-500 list. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are all rich with this antioxidants, which remove potentially damaging oxiding agents in the body. A study from the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine also showed the success in treating patients with depression with antioxidants or placebos.
The Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience emphasized a lack of folate in patients diagnosed with depression. About one-third of those studied were folate-deficient. Tomatoes contain folic acid, which are essential in our fight against mental illnesses. Folic acid alleviates homocysteine, which blocks the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin.
One of the best food to help keep your mind at peace. Oatmeal works as both a breakfast or bedtime snack thanks to being rich in melatonin, which helps you have a good night’s rest – a necessity in maintaining good mental health. It also has high levels of tryptophan, B6, and magnesium, which makes oatmeal a key comfort food.
It all starts with probiotics. These are the “good bacteria” in your body that help keep you healthy by helping your digestion. Research has also established having a healthy stomach leads to a healthy mind. Yogurt also has calcium, potassium, and B vitamins and best of all can be mied with oats and berries to create a super healthy tasty treat.
Salmon is one of the richest foods with omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains B vitamins like B12, which is an essential nutrient in keeping body processes efficient, and tryptophan, which turns to serotonin, one of the key mood regulators in the brain. Salmon can also be cooked plenty of ways making it easy to include in your diet.
Spinach and leafy greens
Leafy greens need to be a staple in everyone’s diets mainly because they help in reducing stress and maintaining good digestive and mental health thanks to all their nutrients: magnesium, potassium, folate, and even omega 3. Spinach, in particular, is rich in B-vitamins.
Small but supremely nutritious, chia seeds have heaping amounts of omega 3’s and one tablespoon alone fills the daily need for omega 3 serving with over 1,700 mg of the recommended 1,000 to 3,000 mg. Sprinkle them in your yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, or salads and you’re good to go.
Oysters are good sources of vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium. But what sets it apart is how rich it is in zinc, an important mineral in our fight against mental illnesses. A study showed the positive effects of zinc supplementation on patients with depression and a small 4 oz serving of cooked oysters already has five times the recommended daily dose.