Eating healthy for the body and mind is not only about eliminating or reducing certain foods in your diets like fats and sugar. It is also about increasing your intake of specific foods for mental and bodily well-being. It is really important to incorporate particular brain boosters into your diet for the well-being of your mind.
Following are the quick brain boosting ways for a better mental health:
Adopt a Healthy Diet
Nutritional psychology has to do with eating particular foods for your brain. A healthy diet has lots of ‘power foods,’ which entail a wide range of richly-colored fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fermented foods, fibers, vitamins and minerals, seafood, plant proteins, beneficial bacteria, and healthy fats and carbs. A healthy, quality diet has many of these foods to foster physical and mental wellness by protecting you from symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, heart disease, and depression.
Incorporate These Brain Boosters in Your Diet
Studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids present in oily fish, seeds, and nuts help lower the risk of anxiety and depression. Besides, spices such as turmeric might also reduce the symptoms of depression by decreasing brain inflammation. On the other hand, fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and fresh sauerkraut contain good bacteria that promote balance to the naturally occurring bacteria in your gut called the microbiome.
Bacteria are helpful in brain development, mood, and behavior functions. Besides, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is linked to higher happiness levels. To treat yourself after healthy eating, you can have some dark chocolate, which is good mood food that has shown to lower symptoms of stress.
Add Kimchi to Your Diet
As you try out different mind food recipes, keep in mind kimchi. It is a spicy Korean side dish that consists of fermented cabbage, radishes, green onions, and assorted seasonings such as chili flakes and ginger. Buy fresh kimchi from supermarket refrigerators, Asian food stores, or health food stores.
Use it to top veggie dogs and burgers, or serve as a spicy condiment with fried rice, omelets, seafood, and other egg dishes. Kimchi that is heat-processed or cooked before packaging does not offer probiotic benefits, as heat kills the beneficial bacteria. However, you can add kimchi to hot soups and stews after they cool.
Seafood: A Healthy Brain Food
A proper mental health diet should have seafood. Fish with the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are oily types. They include both canned and fresh trout, mussels, sardines, oysters, farmed and wild salmon, and Atlantic mackerel. Incorporate oily fish into your diet at least twice a week. Make a chef’s salad using leftover cooked salmon and drizzle garlicky lemon anchovy vinaigrette.
Add Nuts and Seeds to Everything
Eating for mental health also includes nuts and seeds. Aside from fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids when consumed regularly. Sprinkle ground seeds and chopped nuts on everything, including cold and hot breakfast cereals, stir-fries, and fruit and vegetable salads.
Use nuts and seeds when blending smoothies or stir them into waffles, muffins, and pancake batters. Besides, you can also consume walnuts and chia seeds as they are or mix with breadcrumbs as a topping or coating for baked chicken and seafood.
Use a Little Turmeric
Ground turmeric is used in curry dishes, and you can stir it into hummus, add to fruit smoothies, lentil soup, and rice and grain dishes. Turmeric can have an intense taste, so use a pinch first and increase the amount along the way to reach your spicy spot. Besides, some herbal teabag blends have turmeric as a main component. Use the tea bags to make iced and hot teas and easily incorporate turmeric into your diet.
Mixed Vegetables Offer More Benefits
The more color you have on your veggie plate, the more nutritional benefits you get. For enhanced health benefits, go for very colorful vegetables with dark, leafy greens, carrots, butternut squash, and peppers.
If you have a hard time consuming a given healthy vegetable, try a different preparation method. For example, if you do not like steamed broccoli or cauliflower, you might like it roasted.
Have a Bowl of Fruit Salad for Happiness
Make a salad with different types of fresh fruit to benefit from the various nutrients they offer. Grapes, blueberries, and apples are rich in antioxidant vitamins and other components that protect your brain against diseases, improve your mood and behavior, and support overall brain functions.
Dress up your fruit salad with sweet spices such as nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Fruit salads are also great mood foods instead of snacking on junk foods.
Take Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is more than a dessert. Grated dark chocolate is an ingredient in many best chili dishes. You can also add grated dark chocolate to banana and zucchini bread batters or fruit smoothies. Besides, you can melt dark chocolate to make a sweet drizzle or dip for fresh fruit. Dark chocolate also has some magnesium that stimulates brain growth.
Garlicky Lemon Anchovy Vinaigrette
Using anchovy fillets in vinaigrette is the better option, but you can also use a pinch of anchovy paste. Blend four anchovy fillets, one large clove of garlic, two teaspoons of mustard, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gradually add 1/3 cup of olive oil until well incorporated. However, you can instead mash garlic and anchovies, then finely chop and whisk together with the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings. Make about ¾ cup of dressing and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Use this vinaigrette to dress vegetable and green salads or use it as a marinade or sauce for broiled and grilled fish.
A healthy eating habit is very helpful in boosting your mental health but if you feel at any time that you need an additional help, a quick consultation with a mental health professional is highly recommended.