Foods That Improve Mental Health
Eating well helps you function optimally, sleep well, and reduce stress. But it can also impact your mental health and improve brain power. According to Good Morning America, the foods you eat can raise serotonin levels in the brain to improve your mood. They can also decrease inflammation which is important for brain health and to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Tara Collingwood, M.S., a board-certified sports dietitian, tells Newsmax that food can definitely impact how you think, retain information, and carry out daily tasks. “Sure, it seems like we forget things as we get older, but research is showing that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your old age if you add certain foods to your daily eating regimen,” she says.
Here are her top choices to boost brain power and improve mental health:
- Fish. “Deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function,” says the expert. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, is the main component of brain synapses. A lack of omega-3 has been shown to diminish intellectual performance and is linked with dementia. “If you do not eat fish, omega-3 is also found in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds. In addition, you can take it as a supplement. I recommend 1000 mg a day,” says Collingwood.
- Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. “There are so many brain-boosting options in the produce section that your best bet is to simply remember that the more you eat, the healthier your brain will be,” Collingwood says. Fruits and veggies are rich in powerful antioxidants that can help protect your brain from the damage of free radicals. “Some of my favorites include berries, spinach, and tomatoes,” says the certified personal trainer.
- Eggs. Collingwood says that eggs are rich in choline, a fat-like B vitamin, which has been shown to enhance memory and minimize fatigue. Choline boosts cell production, which increases your memory and cognitive function. Other sources of choline are skim milk, breast milk, nuts, and meats. The choline in yolks improves memory, learning, and cognition.
- Walnuts. These nuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which prevent the decline of cognitive and motor function. Research shows that the combination of omega-3’s and uridine, a nutrient found in sugar beets or molasse, increases brain resiliency and improves cell functioning. This duo also balances the unstable neurotransmitters that can cause depression and other mood disorders. “A handful of walnuts every day can improve your brain health,” she adds.