What you eat has a profound impact on your mental health.
With the diets that most people consume, it's absolutely no wonder that depression is such a prevalent issue. People eat far too many highly inflammatory foods like sugar and wheat and far too few foods that reduce inflammation and actually nourish the brain. This results not only in mood disorders or instability, but also in more generalized cognitive dysfunction like diminished concentration, poor memory, and lack of mental sharpness. And then these problems, which worsen with age, set people up for very serious diseases like Alzheimer's down the line.
So what should you eat to feed your brain? Stick to a gut-healing, relatively low-sugar diet that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Start by incorporating these 5 foods, all of which are excellent for cognitive health:
- Salmon. Wild salmon is one of the healthiest foods on this planet, and it's particularly great for brain health. The high amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in conjunction with a good dose of vitamin D makes for the perfect food to address cognitive issues.
- Kimchi. Kimchi is rich in probiotics, which are so important for keeping the digestive tract healthy. The raw garlic it's made with is also a potent antimicrobial and a great prebiotic (the stuff that feeds the probiotics). These three qualities make it the perfect food for gut health, and a happy gut makes for a happy mind!
- Chia seeds. Like salmon, these are a nice source of omega-3s. They're also a good source of protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Not sure how to eat them? Try our super simple vanilla chia pudding.
- Dark chocolate. Rich in essential minerals and antioxidants, dark chocolate is in fact very healthy (though this only applies to varieties that are at least 70% dark chocolate and that have as few ingredients as possible). It's also one of those foods that's really comforting when you're feeling down in the dumps. And because of the small amounts of caffeine and theobromine, dark chocolate can help counteract the sluggishness and lethargy that accompany a blue mood.
- Sunshine. Ok, this isn't technically a food, but exposure to sunshine allows our bodies to synthesize a nutrient that is crucial to mental wellness: vitamin D. Sunshine, and being outside in general, also has a super positive effect on mood.
If you are struggling with low mood, feeling down in the dumps, or just find yourself not enjoying life as much as you used to, take a look at your diet and lifestyle. Are there areas you can improve?
It breaks my heart to see people suffering when there are so many nutritional and supplemental changes they can implement to correct underlying physiological issues that are causing many of their emotional symptoms. Get help so that you do not need to suffer on your own or risk letting your mental and physical health get worse.
Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Fred Fokkelman