We are what we eat, that old saying holds true even more today. Modern convenience diets high in sugar, fat and salt have been linked to higher rates of obesity and depression. Choosing a Mediterranean diet is a better choice which can add years to your life. Eating fruit, vegetables and pulses will aid digestion and keep your blood pressure lower. Food will also affect your moods and how you feel about life, maintaining an awareness of the amount of sugar, fat and salt that you are consuming will assist in maintaining equilibrium.
Here are five foods that keep the mind working at its best:
1. Fatty Fish – Foods high in omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent the onset of dementia and reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia, depression and other mental disorders. So eat plenty of salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel.
2. Whole Grains – The primary source of energy for the brain is glucose which comes from carbohydrates. Whole grains such as whole-wheat, bulgur, oats, wild rice, barley can make you feel full longer and also provide a steady source of fuel for the brain and body.
3. Lean Protein – Amino acids (the building block of protein) such as tryptophan and glutamine have a profound effect on mental wellbeing. Include fish, turkey, chicken, eggs and pulses in your diet to assist to keep serotonin levels balanced.
4. Leafy Greens – Leafy greens such as spinach, romaine and cos lettuce, kale, mustard greens and broccoli are high in folic acid and selenium (broccoli) as are beets and lentils. Deficiencies in folate, selenium and other B vitamins have been linked with higher rates of depression, fatigue and anxiety.
5. Yoghurt with Active Cultures – Fermented foods, such as yogurt and other active cultures, kefir, kimchi, tempeh and certain pickle vegetables contain probiotics (healthy bacteria) which have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress hormones.
Nutrition is a key contributor to good mental health, seek professional help if required.