Although, the positive impact that fresh and nutritious food has on our physical body is well-known, the influence that healthy food has upon our mind is much less acknowledged. This article will discuss some foods that can help to improve your mental well-being and health, and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle.
1. Leafy greens
According to research, nutrients such as folate, lutein, and vitamin K that are found in leafy greens such as broccoli, kale, and spinach, help to slow down cognitive decline. Although leafy greens are often viewed as bland, they can be prepared in fun ways and be subtly incorporated into your lifestyle such as adding a few spinach leaves to a smoothie. Preparing kale chips can also be a crunchy and healthy alternative to potato chips (see link below for recipe).
Recipe for kale chips (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/crispy-kale-chips-recipe-1923723)
Considering they look like brains, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that walnuts have been shown to be beneficial for the brain. Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which research has shown to improve mood. In addition, walnuts contain polyunsaturated fat and Vitamin E which can help to reduce inflammation in the brain. Walnuts can be a fun and simple ingredient to add to both sweet and savoury dishes such as tarts and salads (see link below for recipe).
Recipe for Walnut Salad (https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/walnut-recipes/)
Recipe for Walnut Tart (https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/walnut-toffee-tart/)
Berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are packed full of antioxidants. Antioxidants have many benefits for the brain including boosting brain cells, concentration, and memory. Berries have even been shown to increase levels of serotonin, which can be helpful for people who suffer from depression and PTSD. Researchers have suggested that the antioxidants found in berries help to stimulate the blood and oxygen that flows to the brain, thus keeping the brain active and well. Berry smoothies can be an easy and sweet way to get your daily dose of antioxidants (see link below for recipe).
Berry Smoothie Recipe (https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/mixed-berry-smoothie/)
Researchers have suggested that the bacteria in yoghurt can help people combat their mood, anxiety, and levels of stress. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that compared to women who did not consume probiotic yoghurt, women who ate probiotic yoghurt demonstrated increased brain function. Granola and Yoghurt bowls can be fun and vibrant way to get your daily intake of yoghurt (see link below for recipe)
Breakfast Bowl (https://www.jaroflemons.com/granola-breakfast-bowl/)
Researchers have suggested that fatty acids such as Omega-3 fatty acid that is found in mackerel, trout, and salmon, can be beneficial for the brain. These fatty acids help the brain cells to produce neurotransmitters, work effectively, and decrease the risk of neurological disease. Once or twice a week, a serving of fish such as salmon can be used as an alternative for chicken or red meat (see link below for recipe).
Baked Salmon Recipe (https://cafedelites.com/sheet-pan-garlic-butter-baked-salmon/)
(Photo by Brooke Lark from Unsplash)