Most of us have heard that good food improves skin, helps you build muscle, and lose weight. However, we rarely hear a connection between the food we eat and our mental health.
Did you know that a healthy balanced diet can improve your brain functions, helping you to feel alert and think clearly? You can even improve your attention span, concentration levels, and memory capacity by eating well.
On the other hand, a poor diet can cause brain fog and fatigue, slow down response time, and impair the decision-making process. Bad foods can contribute to stress and depression.
Some health experts also associate degrative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia with prolonged consumption of bad foods. So, yes, food affects our mental faculties, hence the need to consider what goes into our mouths.
Which foods are good for your mental health to keep you focused at work or class, sharp in a game of poker using your Jackpot Casino login, or just to simply boost your mood and improve your mental performance?
Fatty fish is probably the fast food that comes to mind when discussing brain foods. They include salmon, herring, sardines, trout, and albacore tuna. These foods are good for your brain because they are a major source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Did you know that approximately 60% of your brain is fat and that half of that fat is omega-3 fatty acids?
Eating food rich in omega-3 fatty acids provide the brain and nerve cells with food, thus improving your learning and memory abilities. Omega-3 fatty acids also slow down potential mental decline associated with age, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Generally, if you want a sharp brain and improved health, make fish a regular dish in your diet.
Blueberries are super fruits with tons of health benefits. Most deep-colored berries have anthocyanins, a plant compound rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.
Antioxidants protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases and aging by fighting oxidative stress and inflammation. Some studies have found that antioxidants from blueberries accumulate in the brain and aid communication between cells.
Regular consumption of blueberries can improve your cognitive process and memory, making them super fruits for your brain.
You can add blueberries to your smoothie or breakfast cereal or enjoy them as a snack.
Broccoli is an excellent cruciferous vegetable that is rich in powerful plant compounds that are good for your brain, including antioxidants.
Additionally, they are high in vitamin K, providing you with 100% of your daily needs for this vitamin. Vitamin K is fat-soluble and is needed by the body to create sphingolipids, a densely packed fat in your brain cells.
Some studies have associated higher consumption of foods rich in vitamin K with improved memory and cognitive functions in older adults.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects of broccoli also protect the brain from any damage caused by stress and inflammation.
Chocolate is not just for love birds; everyone can benefit from its nutritional value. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are high in brain-boosting compounds, such as caffeine, flavonoids, and antioxidants.
Flavonoids are antioxidants found in plants, and they stimulate the part of the brain associated with memory and learning. Some researchers claim that flavonoids can slow down mental decline in older adults.
Chocolate also reduces depression by boosting your moods if you are feeling low. If you eat dark chocolate, you will experience enhanced positive feelings than individuals that eat crackers.
One medium orange is enough to provide you with your daily need for vitamin C. Consuming adequate vitamin C is essential for preventing mental decline.
One study showed that people with high levels of vitamin C in their bloodstream performed better in tasks that required focus, attention, memory, and quick decision-making.
Furthermore, vitamin C is a good antioxidant that can help the body fight free radicals and oxidative stress from damaging brain cells. Vitamin C can also support your brain health as you grow older and prevent depressive disorders, schizophrenia, chronic anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Besides oranges, you can also derive vitamin C from guava, bell peppers, lemon, strawberries, kiwi, and tomatoes.
Although eggs have been vilified as contributors to LDL build-up in the body, they supply nutrients needed to enhance brain health, such as choline, vitamin B6 and B12, and folate.
Choline is a micronutrient that the body utilizes to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter regulating memory and moods. Some studies connect high choline intake to improved mental function and memory.
Since most people do not have enough of this nutrient, consuming eggs is a sure way of getting it into your body.
Additionally, the B vitamins in eggs also help improve your brain power. They slow down mental decline in adults by reducing homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and folate, also reduce depression. Besides regulating brain sugar levels, vitamin B12 is also needed in forming brain chemicals.
Like coffee, green tea has caffeine that boosts brain function. Many people have admitted that caffeine keeps you alert and improves your performance, focus, and memory.
Green tea also has L-theanine, an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier. This amino acid enhances the activities of neurotransmitters called GABA. GABA helps to minimize anxiety, thus helping you feel more relaxed.
Additionally, L-theanine improves alpha wave frequency in your brain, which helps to reduce anxiety and depression. It also reduces caffeine’s stimulating effects.
Green tea also contains polyphenols and antioxidants, boosting your brain functions and reducing mental health.
Avocados are famous for their healthy unsaturated fat content that support brain function.
Consuming monounsaturated fats have been linked to reduced blood pressure which helps improve cognitive functions. Avocados reduce high blood pressure, thus lowering the risk of cognitive decline.
You can also get unsaturated fats from almonds, flaxseeds, cashews, chia seeds, soybean, sunflower seed, walnuts, and Brazilian nuts.
The statement ‘your food is your medicine’ is true for your brain health. Food rejuvenates your body but also helps your brain. You can improve your cognitive functions by eating healthy foods rich in antioxidants and other brain-boosting compounds.
Conversely, bad food can also harm your body and cause neurodegenerative diseases. So, stick with helpful foods to boost your brain health.
Helen Baumeister did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.