23rd March 2020 is a date that will stick in our minds for the rest of our lives. It was the day the first lockdown started and a little-known virus took over our lives. After 16 long months, I am sure most of us have become a little apprehensive and generally down in the dumps. Even the strongest of us will admit to not feeling the same physically or mentally.
What we eat has a great impact on our mental health and wellbeing, and food can help us improve many areas of our lives. Your brain and nervous system depend on nutrition to maintain cognitive function and to rebuild protein, cells and tissue.
The top food…
Complex carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables and brown rice provide energy. Quinoa, millet, beets and sweet potatoes are good foods in this category.
Next in line…
Lean proteins. They lend energy to allow your body to think and react quickly. Good sources of healthy protein are chicken, meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
Last but not least
Fatty acids are crucial to keep your brain and nervous system functioning properly. You will find them in fish, eggs, meat and flaxseeds.
Avoid, avoid, avoid…
Steer clear of processed meats (such as hot dogs, salami, ham) and snack foods (such as crisps) as these can impair your ability to concentrate. Take a pass on sugar-filled sweets and snacks too. These can lead to ups and downs in energy levels. Consume plenty of healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil and avocado. These also support brain function. If you fancy a snack, try to have a healthy one. Fruit, nuts and hard-boiled eggs are all good options. These will give you more health benefits than pre-packed snacks.
We have to TRY and avoid eating when we feel stressed or anxious. In these situations, we tend to overeat, which can cause weight gain and sluggishness. Another problem that arises from eating when stressed is under-eating. Under-eating will lead to exhaustion, which makes it a hard habit to break. In either case, a poor diet during periods of stress and depression only makes things worse.
Eating Omega 3 rich foods like salmon and green vegetables is a good way to boost your mental health. In a nutshell, what we eat can define and improve our minds.
Finally, if you are struggling with your mental health, then there is plenty of information on www.mind.org.uk. It’s worth a look, and I am sure you will reap the benefits. Let’s all hope we come out of the Pandemic healthier and happier. Watch what you eat, and I’m sure we will!
Top 10 Foods for a mental health boost…
•Salmon is best, but most fish are suitable
•Chicken is a delicious source of lean protein