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How to Maintain Mental Health With Food
Protect Memory with Flavonoids
Research is mounting in support of the beneficial effect of flavonoids on maintaining and even improving memory skills. It is believed that flavonoids prevent and may even repair damage to brain cells that function in transmitting information in the brain. By eating a diet rich in flavonoids, you may be able to improve or maintain your memory.
Drink tea.Black, green, and oolong teas are packed with flavonoids. Drink black tea in the morning for the extra mental lift from the caffeine and switch to green or oolong tea in the afternoon, aiming for about 5 teacups per day.
Eat brightly-colored berries.Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are full of valuable antioxidants as well as potent flavonoids that can keep your memory sharp.
- Add berries to cereal, yogurt, nut mixes, oatmeal, salads, or even ice cream to get about 1 cup of them per day.
Eat citrus fruits.Grapefruits, oranges, and lemons are flavonoid superstars. Drink unsweetened juice with breakfast, slice up an orange with lunch, or squeeze lemon juice over asparagus, seafood, or pasta for dinner.
Eat to Beat Anxiety and Depression
Amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fats, and antioxidants in foods can help combat negative moods, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and other symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders. By incorporating them into your daily diet, you may be able to avoid or resolve some of these mental health difficulties.
Eat healthy carbohydrates.Eating carbohydrates like brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, quinoa, or oats can help lift mood by prompting your brain to release serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter.
- Whole grains also contain selenium, which is associated with decreased symptoms of depression.
Get some poultry in your diet.Turkey and other animal proteins (including eggs) provide the amino acid tryptophan, which can help boost mood and reduce irritability. Tyrosine and other amino acids contained in these foods may help relieve stress, promote tranquility or restfulness, and interact with serotonin in the brain to improve feelings of contentment.
Consider taking vitamin supplements.Many neurological problems and some mental illnesses can be caused or aggravated by vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Vitamin B-12 supplementation is a requirement for vegans and vegetarians. Magnesium and vitamin B-12 can be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms of depression.
Incorporate dairy into your diet.Foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, whey protein, and a host of other nutrients can help reduce fatigue, repair cell damage, stabilize mood, and promote feelings of well-being.
- Drink a glass of milk, have a cup of yogurt, or snack on some cheese everyday to get the benefits dairy can offer.
Eat to Prevent Brain Cell Damage
Antioxidants and a variety of nutrients have been linked to better brain health by protecting the cells from damage and deterioration. Eat foods rich in antioxidants to keep your brain cells healthy.
Eat your vegetables.Vegetables, particularly those that are brightly colored, are often packed with antioxidants that can prevent oxidative damage to your brain cells (and the cells in your skin and other organs).
- Not only will your general health benefit from the variety of nutrients the vegetables provide, your mental health will be at its best when you take the time to provide it with a steady supply of protection in the form of antioxidants.
- Try eating up to 5 different colors of fruits and vegetables each day to get the best variety of nutrients and antioxidants for your mental health.
Flavor foods with spices.Curcumin, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic powder, and chili powder are loaded with beneficial antioxidants that can work wonders for maintenance of mental health.
- Try using herbs (which are rich in flavonoids) and spices to season foods in place of salt and pepper. Adding them to whole grains can give you the added antioxidant lift of many grains.
Have fruit everyday.Dark berries, citrus, and tomatoes are packed with valuable antioxidants that can prevent the negative effects of free radicals on cells in your brain. Add bananas to the mix to get essential nutrients to reduce fatigue and boost mood.
Protect Mental Health with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been acclaimed for everything from improved skin to better memory function to improved cardiovascular health. Because of their importance in maintaining cell health and keeping blood circulating properly, it is quite likely they do many of the things for which they are promoted. Incorporate healthy sources of fats into your daily diet for a healthier brain and better mental health.
Have fish a few times each week.Fatty fish like salmon can provide excellent nutrients for maintaining proper brain health and even improving focus.
- Getting your omega-3 fatty acids straight from fish also provides you with the protein and nutrients found in these lean, nutritious additions to a healthy diet.
Use plant-based cooking oils.Olive oil, flaxseed oil, and sunflower oil are all naturally rich in omega-3’s.
- Try using them in place of butter for frying fish or veggies, or substitute these oils for store-bought salad dressings by pairing them with cider vinegar.
Snack on nuts.Walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, and many other nuts are packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that make them a powerhouse snack for maintaining mental health.
- These diet beauties are rich in minerals that can also relieve insomnia and promote a stable mood, so add them to salads or combine them with dried cherries for a healthy brain snack.
QuestionShould I eat everything that is good for a diet?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
- Try keeping a food diary to track what you eat and any changes you later note in alertness, fatigue, sleep patterns, memory, focus, mood, and anxiety. Avoid foods that may decrease your mental health (for some, alcohol and caffeine may be the culprit), and use the diary to improve the amount and type of healthful foods you consume.
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