BRAIN FOOD: 7 Ingredients to Boost Your Mental Health

A nutritious diet isn’t just good for your waistline. Your food choices also affect your mental well-being. Research has found that proper nutrition reduces the risk of developing depression and may ease symptoms in people living with depression. Even if you eat a healthy diet, you could be missing out on the best nutrients for mental health. If you want to maximize the wellness-boosting power of your diet, these are the ingredients you should be eating.
The humble lentil isn’t as trendy as other superfoods, but there’s no doubt the budget-friendly legume deserves the designation. One cup of lentils nearly meets your entire daily requirement of folate, an important nutrient for preventing depression. In fact, folate is so important for brain health that pregnant women must consume extra to promote proper brain and spine development for their growing child.
Yogurt might have less vitamin B12 per serving than meat, poultry, and fish, but the B12 present in yogurt is more bioavailable. That means it’s easier for your body to absorb B12 from yogurt than from non-dairy sources. The result: Yogurt is one of the best sources of this nutrient linked to improved memory, focus, and mood.
CBD might not be on your grocery list — in fact, you won’t find CBD in many grocery stores — but there’s evidence the supplement helps regulate moods and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. As Remedy Review explains, “Your body is designed to regulate appetite, sleep, and mood. It also has systems in place to balance emotions. Cannabis may help your body better regulate these core functions.” And if you’re worried CBD will affect your mind in other ways, don’t be — CBD lacks the intoxicating properties of other cannabis products.
If you live with depression, zinc could be the culprit. People with depression tend to have less zinc than people without the mental illness, and the worse the zinc deficiency, the more severe the depression. Oysters are by far the best dietary source of zinc, providing more than 300 percent of the recommended daily intake.
Probiotic foods feed your microbiome, a collection of healthy gut bacteria that affect the state of your brain. According to University Health News, the microbiome influences your body’s stress response and production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin. However, heating probiotic foods kills the healthy bacteria. That makes kimchi, which is typically eaten raw, an excellent source of the gut-friendly bacteria.
Oily fish are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to stabilize moods, reduce depressive symptoms, and improve behavior and attention in kids with ADHD. In addition to salmon, try to include mackerel, anchovies, and sardines in your diet. And don’t be shy — it’s recommended that you eat oily fish twice a week.
Fortified Milk
If you’re not getting enough vitamin D, there’s more than your bone health at risk. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to depression, particularly in the winter when limited sunlight gives rise to seasonal affect disorder. Fortified milk is a great way to get your vitamin D because vitamin D improves calcium absorption. Dairy and non-dairy milk are good sources of vitamin D as long as they’re fortified. Check the label to ensure your milk supplies the right nutrients.

A good diet is key to good mental health. However, diet changes alone can’t solve mental illness. If you’re struggling with your mental health, you should talk to your doctor about treatment. As important as healthy eating is, sometimes it takes a extra help to feel your best. Courtesy of Befriend Your Doc

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