Food for the Mind

  • Self Healing
  • Healthy mind
  • Wellness
  • Mental Health

Many of us are well aware of the benefits that eating a balanced diet has on our physical health, but do you know how it benefits our mental health? More and more research is coming to light on the impact food has on both our overall mental wellness, as well as specific mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.

What we eat does not only reflect our physical health but also our mental health. Our Diet can affect our brain. Some foods can help us feel better. Research has shown how our gut can reflect how we are feeling. Eating a diet that is nutrient-rich can help to improve mood, increase energy levels and help you think clearer.


In order for your brain to be able to concentrate and focus, it needs energy. This energy comes from blood glucose, and the glucose in our blood comes from the carbohydrates we eat.

When we don’t have enough energy for the brain, we can feel weak, tired and unable to think clearly. Ensuring you eat regular meals containing some carbohydrates will help with this.

Sources of carbohydrates include:

● Whole grains
● fruits
● vegetables
● legumes
● lower-fat dairy
When your blood glucose rises and falls rapidly, it can have an impact on mood, making you feel irritable, low and even symptoms of anxiety. Keeping your blood glucose levels steady throughout the day is important. Try foods that release energy slowly like oats, cereals, nuts and seeds, and aim to eat smaller portions spaced out throughout the day. Proteins and fats

Alongside the energy it gets from carbohydrates, your brain needs amino acids to help regulate thoughts and feelings. As protein contains amino acids, it’s important to get enough of this in your diet. Protein is found in lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, cheese, soya products and legumes.

Some people may be under the impression that all fat is bad for us, but this isn’t the case. Fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6, are essential for our brains to function well. Healthy fats can be found in nuts, seeds, oily fish, poultry, avocados, dairy products and eggs. Vitamins and minerals

When we don’t get enough of certain vitamins and minerals, both our physical and mental health can suffer. The best way to ensure you’re getting enough of the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a varied balanced diet, rich in fruit and vegetables. For some, a supplement may be needed.

Iron: A lack of iron can lead you to feel weak, tired and lethargic. Foods rich in iron include red meat, poultry, fish, beans and pulses and fortified cereals.

B vitamins: Not getting enough B1, B3 and B12 can make you feel low, tired and irritable. Animal protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy, and fortified cereals are rich in B vitamins.

Folate: When you don’t get enough folate you can be at a higher risk of feeling depressed. Folate can be found in green vegetables, citrus fruits, liver, beans and fortified foods.

Selenium: A selenium deficiency may increase the chance of feeling depressed and other negative mood states. Good sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, seeds, wholemeal bread, meat and fish.

The research suggests that the more a person follows a Western diet, with highly processed foods, the more at risk they are for depression and anxiety. People who follow a Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, seem to be less likely to have mental health conditions.

The hippocampus is an area of the brain that generates new neurons in a process called neurogenesis. Research has linked neurogenesis in the hippocampus to a person’s mood and cognition. Stressful experiences reduce neurogenesis in the hippocampus, while antidepressant drugs appear to promote this process.

Factors that can negatively affect neurogenesis in adults include:

● aging
● oxidative stress
● high fat diets
● high sugar diets
● alcohol
● opioids
Healthy food habits appear to promote neurogenesis. These include:

● diets that include polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), curcumin, and polyphenols
● a diet that meets calorie needs without a person overeating or undereating
● physical exercise
● learning
● There is some evidence that intermittent fasting can help improve mood and mental
well-being. It is seen that fasting could contribute to improvements in mood, as well as people’s sense of well-being and alertness.
There are many psychological, biological and social benefits of eating meals with other people. They give us a sense of remaining connected to others and thereby a feel good factor. As the quote goes “ Its the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life” — Emmet Fox

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