Covid19 pandemic is causing a lot of stress and anxiety for many people around the world. It’s hard to tell how long it will take before things get back to normal. These situations can take a toll on our mental health. So, while we try and take care of our physical health, it is also important to work on our mental health and well being.
There are various nutrients that you need to add to your diet to keep your brain performing at its optimal best. These nutrients not only strengthen your cognitive abilities but help you deal with stress and anxiety. Unhealthy diet not only affects your physical health but has a profound impact on your mental well being. There are various studies that have proven the detrimental effect of eating junk food on your mood. Since unhealthy food lacks the necessary nutrients it results in various nutritional deficiencies. If you want to maintain and promote your mental health, it’s important for you to add more nutritional value to your meals by eating healthy and taking nutritional supplements.
In this article, we are going to discuss which nutrients are crucial to your mental health and which sources you can derive them from.
Nutrients that positively influence your mental health:
There are various nutrients that play a vital role in keeping your brain healthy. Some of these nutrients include:
Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps in maintaining proper structure and function of your brain. Moreover, it plays a critical role in modulating the body’s inflammatory pathways. If you suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, you can regulate your mood by supplementing your diet with omega-3 supplements.
You can get Omega-3 fats by consuming seeds, nuts and oysters. Oily fish for example salmon, sardines and mackerel contain high amounts of Omega-3 fats. However, to avoid higher levels of mercury in your body, you should consume larger fish in moderation.
Folate and Vitamin B complex:
Vitamin B complex is required for optimal metabolic and cellular processes. These vitamins are essential for producing a variety of brain chemicals. Folate, also known as B9 is responsible for regulating your mood. The people who are constantly depressed or poorly respond to antidepressants are often found to be Folate deficient. By supplementing your body with folate, you can improve your antidepressant response rate.
Some of the best natural sources of folate include nuts, leafy greens, whole grains, legumes and brewer’s yeast. You can also meet your body’s folate requirements by adding unprocessed meat, dairy, eggs, cheese and whole grain to your diet. For synergistic effect, take B vitamins together.
When it comes to neurological function, minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc play an essential role. Zinc accelerates a number of brain chemistry reactions. It also plays an important role in supporting your immune system. Zinc deficiency also causes depressive symptoms. There are various studies that suggest that symptoms of depression can be improved with the regular intake of zinc supplements alongside antidepressants.
Magnesium deficiency is also often linked to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Iron is responsible for supporting a number of neurological activities and its deficiency causes symptoms of depression and developmental problems of the brain. That’s because it is responsible for carrying oxygen to the brain.
You can fulfill the body’s zinc requirements by consuming whole grain, nuts, meats, and oyster and pumpkin seeds. Add soy, leafy greens and legumes to your diet to meet your body’s magnesium requirements. Add a modest amount of meat, organ meat, nuts, and green vegetables like spinach to your diet to keep up with the body’s iron requirements.
Vitamin D is not only important for the proper development of bones. It also plays an important role in your brain development. Vitamin D deficiency causes depressive symptoms and low maternal levels of this nutrient cause schizophrenia. Sunlight is the best source to get vitamin D. Spend at least 15 minutes in the sunlight between 10am to 3pm. This way you can supplement your body with the right amount of vitamin D.
There are various mental disorders that have been associated with increased oxidative stress that causes damage to the brain cells. Depression and dementia are no exception. Antioxidant compounds remove free radicals that cause excessive oxidation and damage brain cells. Adding plant-based antioxidants such as polyphenols to your diet is a great way to keep your brain healthy.
Eating healthy is not only important for your physical health. It’s necessary for your mental health as well. Add essential nutrients to your diet to stay at the top of your mental health and to fight off the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Bio: Jacob Junior writes for HerbaChoices. He is a certified Yoga instructor and nutrition experts. You can visit the blog and website to get all sorts of information about healthy dietary supplements.