Healthy Diet, Healthy Brain: 15 Foods for Better Mental Health

The foods you eat can affect the health of your mind and body in a number of ways. Your diet can influence everything from your energy level to your body fat and even the appearance of your skin and hair. So it should come as no surprise that the foods you eat can also have an effect on your brain and mental health.

 

What Foods Are Good for the Brain and Mental Health?

The right diet can go a long way toward keeping your mind sharp. Certain foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, which have been shown to reduce stress, improve moods, increase oxygen flow to the brain and boost cognitive thinking and reasoning abilities.

So what kinds of foods can you eat to promote a sharper and healthier brain?

Blueberries
Blueberries may as well be called “brainberries.” They are rich in antioxidants and can reduce oxidative stress and improve learning capacity and motor skills.

Citrus fruits
A diet rich in lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits can help delay cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia by up to 23 percent.

Nuts
Nuts are among the best foods you can eat for some added brain power. Almonds — with their high vitamin E and monounsaturated fats — are great for preventing cognitive decline and memory loss. Walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can boost brain cell communication and growth. Pistachios are high in vitamin B6, which increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and makes the brain more active as a result.

Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids can help slow cognitive decline and have also been shown to help ward off depression. Salmon, lake trout, anchovies and sardines are all high in this type of fat.

Avocados
Avocados are a good source of lutein, an ingredient related to improved cognition. The monounsaturated fats in avocados help to keep blood pressure levels in check, which is a key to preventing Alzheimer’s.

Coffee
Coffee contains a high amount of brain-stimulating antioxidants, and studies have shown that regular coffee drinkers experience a decreased risk for dementia.

Greek yogurt
Research has shown that the probiotics found in Greek yogurt can prevent cognitive decline and age-related memory loss. And the vitamins and minerals found in Greek yogurt are good for relieving stress and enhancing brain energy.

Egg Yolks
Dieters often ditch the yolk of an egg, but experts recommend leaving it in if you’re hoping to sharpen your mind. The vitamins found in an egg yolk are crucial to supporting memory and increasing communication among brain cells.

Whole Grains
Our brains love complex carbohydrates, which are found in high amounts in whole grain products such as oatmeal, barley and quinoa. The soluble fiber found in whole grains helps to clear arteries and improve oxygen flow to the brain, which can then help offset dementia.

Beets
The natural nitrates in beets are great for improving blood flow to the brain and enriching mental performance.

Broccoli
Great for both the mind and the body, broccoli is high in vitamin K and choline, two ingredients which have been shown to improve episodic memory performance.

Dark Chocolate
Finally, a viable excuse to indulge. Flavonoids found in dark chocolate improve blood flow to the brain and can boost memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that are instrumental in combating the toxic proteins that are known to cause Alzheimer’s. Extra virgin olive oil is also believed to improve learning and memory skills.

Green, Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, collards, and Swiss chard have been shown by research to help keep dementia at bay and slow cognitive decline.

Rosemary
One of the main components of rosemary is carsonic acid, which helps to protect the brain from the chemicals linked to neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, and aging.

 

Diet Plans for Brain Power

Given all of the foods that carry brain-boosting abilities, what are some diets that utilize these foods?

  • Mediterranean
    A Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, olive oil, whole grains and fish.
  • Zone
    The Zone diet encourages a heavy consumption of avocados, nuts and olive oil.
  • Ketogenic
    Avocados, nuts, fish and olive oil are all used liberally in the Ketogenic diet.
  • Vegetarian
    Many vegetarian diets allow for the consumption of fish and eggs to go along with all the vegetables, berries and nuts.
  • South Beach
    The South Beach diet allows for fish, nuts, vegetables and avocados.

Incorporate these foods into your meals to give yourself an entrée of health benefits with a side of brain power.

Author Bio: Guest blogger Lee Elliott is a writer from Raleigh, North Carolina. He likes running, mindfulness meditation, and hikes with his Yorkshire Terrier. You can find more of his articles here.

 

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc.

 

Recommended for You

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Avatar
Guest Author for www.rtor.org

13 thoughts on “Healthy Diet, Healthy Brain: 15 Foods for Better Mental Health

  1. Avatar
    Gary says:

    Excellent article. As a substance abuse counselor, I regularly stress the importance of diet in preventing relapse since if you feel better (not depressed, stressed, or foggy brained) your less prone to have a lapse. There is also a heap of evidence that the proper diet can help with depression and ADHD. All the foods you mentioned are in my opinion and based on what I have read via numerous books exactly what is needed for proper mental health and peak brain function.

  2. Avatar
    Chris says:

    I am a huge fan of the Mediterranean diet (as well as South Beach) so it was great to read all of these foods being discussed. I think Olive Oil is the main reason the diet works so well for general health and in particular the health of the brain. Really enjoyed the article.

  3. Avatar
    Joey Best says:

    Glad to see coffee features on this list. Really do agree with the high level of omega 3 and good fats. I have noticed mostly among children the energy spikes and then mood crashes from too much sugar. Children’s parties in particular can be a nightmare.

  4. Avatar
    Jake says:

    Great list overall. I love blueberries and I recently have tried quinoa and have to say it can be a good replacement for white rice. Quinoa is also higher in protein.

  5. Avatar
    Deanna Friel says:

    Excellent article. As a substance abuse counselor, I regularly stress the importance of diet in preventing relapse since if you feel better (not depressed, stressed, or foggy brained) your less prone to have a lapse. There is also a heap of evidence that the proper diet can help with depression and ADHD. All the foods you mentioned are in my opinion and based on what I have read via numerous books exactly what is needed for proper mental health and peak brain function.

    Glad to see coffee featured on this list. Really do agree with the high level of omega 3 and good fats. I have noticed mostly among children the energy spikes and then mood crashes from too much sugar.

  6. Avatar
    Habib says:

    Brilliant article. As a substance mishandle guide, I routinely stretch the significance of eating regimen in anticipating backslide since if you can rest easy (not discouraged, focused, or foggy brained) your less inclined to have a slip by. There is additionally a stack of proof that the best possible eating routine can help with misery and ADHD. Every one of the sustenances you specified is as I would like to think and in light of what I have perused using various books precisely what is required for legitimate emotional wellness and pinnacle cerebrum work.

    Happy to see espresso highlighted on this rundown. Genuinely do concur with the abnormal state of omega 3 and high fats.

  7. Avatar
    PaulJohnson says:

    The ‘Zone Diet’ is a diet program with a ‘40:30:30’ plan for carbohydrates, fats and proteins respectively. Along with weight loss, the other health benefits of Zone Diet include improved health, greater energy and better mental clarity.

    The Zone Diet helps lose fat and increases wellness by reducing cellular inflammation that is the underlying cause of weight gain, acceleration of chronic disease, and also the reason behind decreased physical, emotional, and mental performance. The catch phrase of the Zone Diet is that it uses food as the drug for ailments..

  8. Avatar
    Quill Ludwig says:

    Informative article. There is also a heap of evidence that the proper diet can help with depression and ADHD. Healthy eating habit can result in a healthy brain.

  9. Avatar
    Thea says:

    absolutely! The food mentioned above combining some dietary supplements is the best way to ensure your body gets all the essential nutrients it needs for healthy living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *