6 Best Foods That Can Help Improve Mental Health

August 15, 2017

The human brain controls almost all processes in the body, and also ensures every part is functioning optimally as required. This is one of the reasons why the brain takes up lots of energy and nutrients than any other body organ to function optimally. The heart too plays a principal role in ensuring brain cells get the much-desired nutrients and oxygen to remain viable and healthy. For this reason, you are advised to increase your intake of highly nutritive foods that promote brain health. The only way you can protect brain cells from damage is if you can learn to manage stress, and most importantly, eat well-balanced and highly nutritive meals.


Steering clear of refined foods and sugars is also recommended for brain health. Processes sugars only promote oxidative stress and inflammation, factors that contribute significantly to brain cell death and depreciating cognitive functions. Including foods that promote mental health in your diet plan is considered the best way to boost cognitive functions and brain health. These foods not only supply the brain with essential nutrients but also help get rid of free radicals and other toxins produced when brain cells use up oxygen. Foods rich in vitamins, healthy fats, antioxidants, and minerals are recommended for your mental health. Some of the best foods for brain health include:


  1.    Fatty Fish

Fatty fish are excellent sources of omega fatty acids such as EPAs (eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), some of the essential nutrients needed for a healthy brain. The human body is incapable of producing these omega fatty acids, hence the need to eat foods rich in the same every day. Oily fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring) are considered the best sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are needed for the production of serotonin, dopamine, and neurotransmitters. These chemicals help boost memory functions, learning, and regulate moods as well.


  1.    Whole Grains

Whole grains are the best sources of high-quality glucose needed to fuel all body processes, and especially brain functions. Whole grains and cereals contain complex carbs that release glucose slowly thus providing a steady supply of energy for the brain and other body organs. This is unlike simple carbohydrates that cause blood sugar spikes leading to mood swings and accumulation of toxins in body cells.  Whole grains, wild rice, brown bread, whole-wheat products, soy, beans, chia seeds, and oats are good examples of whole grains that promote mental health.


  1.    Avocados and Beets

Avocados pack some of the most essential nutrients needed for improved mental health. For starters, avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats, folate, vitamin B, vitamin C, and Vitamin K. These nutrients help keep brain cells healthy and toxin-free, hence improved concentration, memory, and other cognitive functions. Folate and vitamin K play a principal role in preventing blood clots in the brain, hence reducing the risk of stroke.


Beets, on the other hand, pack nutrients that fight not only cancerous cells but also get rid of toxins in the blood. In addition to this, beets are a rich source of natural nitrates, compounds that boost blood flow to all parts of the body. Increased blood flow to brain cells means better mental performance and good health.


  1.    Green Leafy Vegetables

Broccoli, spinach, celery, cabbages, turnips, and mustard greens have one thing in common; they are rich sources of B vitamins, minerals, and folic acid. Broccoli contains another secret ingredient, selenium, the compound responsible for improved immune system functions, and better brain health.  According to research, having a vegetable salad every day helps contain anxiety, fatigue, and depression, – the leading brain cell killers. Including vegetables in your diet plan not only supplies the brain with essential vitamins but also helps you manage stress and other issues easily. Little or no stress is good news for your mental health.


  1.    Colored Fruits and Berries

Citrus fruits, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, etc. are potent sources of powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Having a fresh fruit after every main meal supplies the body with antioxidants that fight toxins by cleansing cells. By ensuring brain cells are free of toxins, you can be assured of improved productivity and cognitive functions. Although uncelebrated, antioxidant-rich foods help protect brain cells from stress and degenerations, thus highly beneficial for your brain.


  1.    Lean Proteins

Lean proteins are also recommended for your mental health. These proteins are digested into amino acids, the key body building blocks. Amino acids are also needed for the production of neurons, enzymes, and antibodies that protect brain cells from damage.  Although there may be plenty of processed proteins on the market today, health experts only recommend lean proteins from lean red meat, egg yolk, fish, soy, legumes, chicken, lentils, almonds, and cashews.  It would also be advisable to stay away from processed animal proteins for they only introduce harmful compounds to brain cells.


Introducing these foods in your diet plan can be the highway to better brain health and even improved brain functions. As mentioned earlier, only focus on purely organic and unprocessed foods to reap all these benefits.

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