Tue. May 21st, 2019

The Best Foods to Support Mental Health

Our health starts with what we put in our bodies. A healthy diet can foster more than just good physical health. These foods provide nutrients and compounds known to help support your mental health.

salad berries food diet vegetables

Image Source: Pixabay

We use our minds for our daily activities. Therefore, maintaining the health of the mind is essential. Consuming good food is one way of supporting mental health and enhance memory and concentration. In this article, you will find the best foods that support mental health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The consumption of fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines are essential for your mental health. Fatty fish involves fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

pixabay fish oil capsules
Image Source: Pixabay

The brain uses nutrients from fatty fish to build nerve cells, which are used for daily activities. The brain also uses fatty fish to reduce the aging of the brain and treat conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. If the brain lacks sufficient omega-3 acid from fatty fish, then it can lead to a lot of difficulties.

Fatty fish seems to offer a lot of health benefits to support mental health. Research conducted by scientist on mental health showed that they were the existence of sufficient gray matter in the brains of those who ate baked or broiled fish on a regular basis. The way you make decisions is based on the amount of gray matter found in the brain[1]. Since fatty fish increases gray matter, therefore is essential for mental support.

Caffeine

The caffeine and several antioxidants found in coffee are essential for mental health. Caffeine makes the brain alert, sensitive and focused. Furthermore, the consumption of caffeine over the long run treats conditions such as anxiety[2]. Thus, the caffeine and abundant antioxidants that come with coffee are necessary for mental support.

Blueberries

Blueberries are also essential for mental health support since they generate anthocyanins. Additionally, they can fight against inflammation and oxidants.

Furthermore, blueberries can stop to brain aging and various neurodegenerative conditions due to the presence of antioxidants which can help enhance communication between brain cells[3].

yogurt berries
Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash

Scientist have proven that blueberries can help enhance the mind and decrease potential short-term memory loss in animals[4].

Vitamin K

The potent plant compounds such as vitamin K found in Broccoli can help fight against oxidation. Scientific studies have proven that enhanced memory results from a higher intake of broccoli[5].

Apart from vitamin K, broccoli contains numerous compounds that make it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, thus helping to protect the brain against damage.

Cocoa

Flavonoids, caffeine, and antioxidants are sub compounds of dark chocolate and cocoa powder. These sub compounds are beneficial to the mind.

dark chocolate
Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

The capacity to learn and memory depends on the number of flavonoids found in the brain. It has been proven that flavonoids and other compounds found in chocolate can improve memory and support the mind.

Scientist conducted a study on people who consumed chocolate and it showed that the frequent consumption of chocolate resulted to better mental performance in men[6].

The study also showed that happy feelings were felt by people who consume chocolate[7].

Final Thoughts: Foods Supporting Mental Health

While diet isn’t always the full answer, a bad diet can throw everything else out of balance. Ensure you’re eating the above foods regularly to help balance your mental health.

If you feel you need professional help, a psychiatrist or licensed therapist can help. You can even find a therapist online.


Sources & Additional Reading:

Featured Image Source: Pixabay

1. Raji, Cyrus A., et al. “Regular fish consumption and age-related brain gray matter loss.” American journal of preventive medicine 47.4 (2014): 444-451.

2. Nehlig, Astrid. “Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients?.” Practical neurology 16.2 (2016): 89-95.

3. Subash, Selvaraju, et al. “Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases.” Neural regeneration research 9.16 (2014): 1557.

4. Krikorian, Robert, et al. “Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 58.7 (2010): 3996-4000.

5. Soutif-Veillon, Anne, et al. “Increased dietary vitamin K intake is associated with less severe subjective memory complaint among older adults.” Maturitas 93 (2016): 131-136.

6. Crichton, Georgina E., Merrill F. Elias, and Ala’A. Alkerwi. “Chocolate intake is associated with better cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.” Appetite 100 (2016): 126-132.

7. Meier, Brian P., Sabrina W. Noll, and Oluwatobi J. Molokwu. “The sweet life: The effect of mindful chocolate consumption on mood.” Appetite 108 (2017): 21-27.

Rylie Morgan
Blogger

Rylie is freelance writer, fitness blogger, and travel junkie. Originally from Toronto, she currently resides in Lima, Peru but is always on the move to discover new adventures.