You want to eat healthy food, but only to improve heart health or reduce the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer, but what about your mental health? Mental health isn’t just about listening to good music or going to the spa, it is much more than that. What you put in your mouth has a great effect on your mental health. Like your brain, the gut has its own nervous system, which sends information to the brain via the vagus nerve. What we put in our gut can impact the functioning of the brain. So here are some of the most nutrient-dense foods for the best mental health:
1. Whole Grains
Many whole grains are naturally rich in an amino acid called tryptophan, which your body needs to produce serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin, the “feel-good hormone,” improves mood and relaxes brain and body, while melatonin helps establish and maintain steady sleep cycles.
The two key components in bananas are vitamin B-6 and tryptophan. Separately, they work to reduce depressive symptoms, and together, they form a dynamic duo of brain chemistry to send you tons of positive vibes.
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate boosts the production of “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. They also reduce pain and diminish the negative effects of stress. Compounds in dark chocolate can make you feel calmer and more content.
4. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks provide nutrients which are essential for proper brain functioning. Egg yolks may be one of the most important foods for brain health, as they provide choline, a nutrient which serves multiple integral brain functions and is relatively rare in other foods.
Yoghurt treats depression which is one of the most common mental health problems. Yoghurt is a cultured (fermented) food with billions of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics aid in breaking down nutrients for better absorption. This not only improves digestion, it allows the body and brain to better use the nutrients we consume.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, as well as other berries, are rich in vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants. They can help the brain stay healthy via compounds that protect brain cells from free radicals.