When we think brain health most of us turn our mind to brain teasers, a sudoku puzzle, reading a book or learning something new and all of these things do contribute to our overall brain health, in addition to this mental exercise there are smaller things we can do with our diet to help optimize our brain and mental health.
When it comes to brain health, you first want to think of reducing bodily inflammation and overall stress. Chronic inflammation and stress wrecks unwanted havoc in our digestive system, when this happens your body’s ability to affectively breakdown and absorb the nutrients it needs for optimal health becomes challenged, so what can you do?
1. The first thing you want to try and do is cut out processed sugar and alcohol. Added sugar and alcohol cause blood sugar destabilization which leads to inflammation and causing your digestive system, liver and hormones get a little stressed out trying to process out these nutrient void products.
2. Secondly, you want to add in three main things:
– Good Quality Fats: fats contribute to healthy hormone production. Hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good hormones, which are powerhouse hormones when it comes to brain and mental health. You can find these fats in foods such as nuts and seeds, cold water fish like salmon, and fatty fruits like olives and avocados.
– Antioxidants: found in bright colourful food the best way to deliver antioxidants to your body is to eat fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants work at latching onto free radical compounds that cause inflammation and help to escort them out of the body. We also know these antioxidants as vitamin A, C, E and D. Adding foods such as blueberries, artichokes, herbs such as cilantro and parsley and kale to your diet will help ensure you are getting a healthy dose of inflammation reducing antioxidants.
– Probiotics: the good gut bacteria! Probiotics assist in reducing inflammation, absorbing nutrients, reducing gas and bloating and helping with regular bowel movements and they have also been linked to healthy serotonin production. Serotonin helps to positively affect mood, sleep, digestion, hunger queues, memory and sexual desire and function. You can source probiotics from most fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso.
With these simple additions or adjustments to your diet you will help to reduce inflammation and support happy healthy mental health.
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