Eating well is extremely important for not only your physical health, but your mental health too. Making positive changes to your diet can actually have a big influence on your mood and how you feel psychologically.
Serotonin & Tryptophan
Mood swings, the ability to concentrate and positive feelings, can all be affected by something called serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another, influencing a variety of psychological functions. It has also been known as ‘the happy hormone’ due to its ability to help regulate our mood. Serotonin cannot be made without the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan can be found in a number of foods, and by adding these to our diets we can help improve how we feel mentally and how functioning psychologically. These foods include: turkey, fish, chicken, walnuts, banana, milk, eggs and cheese.
There are other factors in our diet that we should also be mindful of to help improve and regulate our mood. Ensuring that you have a well-balanced diet with plenty of variety will help your body feel great, physically. But in addition to this, things like B vitamins, glucose and omega-3 fatty acids, can help with our cognitive function too.
We need B vitamins to get or make energy from our food. Lack of B vitamins in our diet may result in feeling lethargic and in more severe cases, feeling depressed. Foods such as whole grains, eggs, fish, milk, leafy greens, beans and peas, are all excellent sources of B vitamins.
Additionally, we need a sufficient amount of glucose in our diet to keep us feeling mentally energised. Glucose comes from carbohydrates that include fruit, vegetables, potatoes, bread, cereals, sugars and lactase in milk. Without enough glucose in our diet, our brain will run out of energy therefore, leaving us feeling tired and mentally unaware.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Good sources of omega 3 fatty acids are vital for our brain health. You can find these essential fats in oily fish such as, salmon, sardines and mackerel, walnuts and flaxseeds. You can also find eggs that are omega 3 rich (just check the box). Research suggests that 2 portions of oily fish per week can help improve brain memory and performance and cognitive and behavioural function.
Finally, we mustn’t forget to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to headaches, poor concentration, mood changes and fatigue thus, it is crucial we are drinking the recommended 1.5- 2 litres of water a day.
Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well
Credit: RE-NOURISH: A Simple Way to Eat Well by Rhiannon Lambert is available now (£18.99) http://amzn.to/2B8nPB1