Our mind is a very interesting place and one that we don’t fully understand yet, despite 1000’s of neuroscientists and researchers studying it for decades.
The concept of a healthy mind is also a tricky thing to define; what makes a mind healthy?
Is it having better brainpower? Better mood? Or the ability to practice mindfulness?
In general, a healthier mind is a collection of all of these things. A healthier mind has a better memory, has more brainpower, is more relaxed and has better mental health and clarity.
A healthy mind is something everyone would love to have but not something we all actively try and achieve. But what if it was as simple as changing your diet?
We know that a healthy diet improves your quality of life by giving you all the correct nutrients and vitamins which in turn provides more energy, making you feel happy and less stressed.
Certain foods can also directly contribute to your brain’s health.
Read on to find out how you could eat and drink your way to a healthier mind.
Especially fatty fish is full of Omega-3 fatty acids which are very important for your brain’s overall health. Omega-3 can be found in white fish such as cod, tuna, salmon and many other breeds of fish.
A large portion of your brain is made up of omega-3 which your brain uses to create brain cells which aid in learning and memory.
Research also suggests that a diet containing omega-3 could reduce brain-related diseases that appear with age such as dementia.
Yes, you read that correctly, chocolate is good for your brain health!
While dark chocolate might not be everyone’s favourite chocolate variation, research shows that the flavonoids found in cacao are a powerful form of antioxidant.
These antioxidants have been found to increase blood flow and encourage blood vessels and neuron growth in certain areas of the brain that contribute to learning and long-term memory.
Most berries also contain flavonoid antioxidants, making them similarly good for your brain.
Berries also contain catechin, anthocyanin and caffeic acid, antioxidants that contribute to inflammation reduction and overall brain health.
Multiple studies have found that these specific antioxidants had a positive effect on brain cell communication, inflammation reduction and a reduction in the chance of getting a neurodegenerative disease.
Brain boosting berries include blackcurrants, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.
Nuts, Seeds and Grains
As with fish, nuts and seed are also home to good omega-3 fatty acids important for overall brain health. Studies have shown a link between the amount of nuts in the diet and good brain health with age.
Vitamin E can also be found in nuts, seeds and whole grains, protecting brain cells from oxidative stress which is produced by free radicals. The risk of this increases with age and vitamin E can provide needed protection to the brain.
Important nuts and seeds to include in your diet: peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts.
Essential whole grains to include in your diet: oats, rice (especially brown), whole grain bread or pasta.
What most people don’t know about eggs is that they are not just a good source of protein and healthy fats but vitamin B-12, B-6 and folic acid.
It’s thought that these vitamins can contribute to a reduction in cognitive decline with age and brain shrinkage.
It may surprise you to hear that your brain is made up of mostly fat, and as a good source of healthy fats, avocados are very conducive to good brain health.
Including a good amount of these fats in your diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure, which has a strong link to cognitive decline.
You can also find healthy unsaturated fats in many nuts and seeds as well as fish.
As you can see, there are many foods that in many different ways can contribute to a healthy mind and brain
Whole grains, fatty fish and fruits and veg are full of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and give the brain everything it needs to develop and sustain itself.
Try to incorporate some of these foods into your diet to maintain your brain health, boost brain power and improve memory and mood.