Diet is an essential factor for your mental and physical health. By shaping your diet, you can improve your mental health while decreasing your risk of psychiatric disorders. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans have some type of mental illness each year, and the CDC says that by 2020, depression will rank as the second leading cause of disability, after heart disease. So keeping your brain healthy by adding proper food to your diet is becoming increasingly important and below are the Top 10 foods for your mental health to get you started.
Salmon contains vitamin D, which is important for the management of depression and supporting immune function. A lower intake of Omega-3 is associated with a higher risk of depression. It’s also an excellent source of protein and potassium. Salmon provides tryptophan which converts to serotonin, an important mood regulator, in the brain.
Sweet potatoes are rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene that helps with reducing damage to the brain cells, which can improve your mental health. It reduces the oxidative stress on DNA, which has been linked with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
Tomatoes contain lots of folic acids and alpha-lipoic acid, both of which are good for fighting depression. In most of the studies, about one-third of depression patients were deficient in folate.
Bananas are mood-enhancing because it affects tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that helps produce serotonin. Tryptophan also helps with sleep, regulates our food intake – both which are associated with impacting mood as well.
Walnuts are one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous studies have demonstrated how omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms.
Beets (and beet juice) contain lots of nitrates, which serve to increase blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more brain power, including better memory, sharper reasoning skills, improved attention span and better concentration.
Lentils are loaded with the B vitamin folate which is needed to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter, or also known as the ‘happy hormone.
Caffeine has a protective effect against the risk of depression, mainly from coffee consumption, according to the Harvard University study findings. They saw a 15 percent reduction in their risk of developing depression after drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day. Individuals who drank 4 cups per day saw a 20% reduction. However, caffeine reduction is strongly advised for people experiencing anxiety.
Spinach & Dark Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as spinach, romaine, turnip and mustard greens, and broccoli are high in folic acid. Deficiencies in folate, as well as other B vitamins, have been linked with higher rates of depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
Kefir is a dairy beverage high in probiotics (healthy bacteria) which have been shown in studies to reduce anxiety and stress hormones. Gut health has been linked to mental health in several studies including one published earlier this year in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
If you or a loved one you know battles with any Mental Health Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.
Photo Credit: Food Follies