Eating the right things
Are you eating the right things to keep your brain healthy?
What we eat doesn’t just have a negative or positive impact on our physical health, it also has an effect on our mental health too. That’s why it’s important to take great care with your diet and have a healthy and balanced intake of food and water. Improving your diet and eating more healthily has been proven to:
- Lift your mood
- Give you more energy
- Help you think more clearly
Stay hydrated and not just by drinking water
Being hydrated massively affects our ability to concentrate and think clearly about things in our lives. A lot of our water comes from the food we eat, but in addition we should really drink an additional two litres of water every day. Fruit teas, herbal teas and diluted fruit juices are also good alternatives to stay hydrated. To help you keep hydrated, here are some handy tips from mindcharity.co.uk
- Fruits and vegetables are great sources of water. Eat things like oranges, grapefruit and even grapes daily to stay hydrated and maintain your health and wellbeing
- Keep a water bottle handy to encourage you to drink water
- Remember to drink more when you exercise or spend time in hot environments
- Set reminders on your phone or smart watch or even download an app like HydroCach to prompt you to regularly drink a glass of water
Manage your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant and as a result it can give you a quick burst of energy, that’s why many of us drink it first thing in the morning to give us a boost. As with all stimulants, though, it can then make you feel anxious and depressed, disturb your sleep, especially if you have it after a certain time in the evening, and give you withdrawal symptoms. That’s why it’s good to stay hydrated with water, switch to decaffeinated versions if you can and try not to drink caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
Discover more about how your belly controls your brain
Our intestines can hugely alter the way our brain works. As well as the above tips, why not watch this fascinating TED Talk from nutritionist, microbiologist and neuroscientist, Ruairi Robertson. He has researched how our intestines, and the microbes within them, can influence both our physical and mental health.
Remember, though, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself about eating healthily, achieving a balance is fine and it’s about moderation.
Try switching to a Mediterranean style diet
Researchers from Spain, Britain and Australia analysed 41 studies over an eight-year period that looked at the relationship between diet and depression. They discovered that people who followed a Mediterranean style diet (a diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil) had a 33% lower risk of being diagnosed with depression compared to those people who were least likely to follow this eating habit.
Other foods that you could eat that are healthy for you are:
Dark leafy greens: Spinach, kale and swiss chard are high in vitamins and immune system boosters.
Walnuts: These brain-shaped fruits are incredibly good for your brain, as they’re full of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce depression symptoms. Try sprinkling some on a salad for a brain boost.
Tomatoes: These are full of folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, which help the production of serotonin and balance mood. Fresh tomatoes are best. Try having a few sliced on your toast with a little salt.
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