We all know we should eat a healthy diet but have you ever wondered if your diet has any effect on your mental health?

It is true; your diet has a lot to do with mental health and your mood.

Foods that promote mental health

Foods that promote brain health, as well as, improve certain mental tasks that include memory and concentration. 

Omega 3 fatty acids like fish help the brain to build brain and nerve cells and are also essential for learning and memory. They may slow down age related mental decline and reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s. Not getting enough Omega 3 has been linked to learning impairments and depression. 

Coffee has caffeine and antioxidants which help your brain. Caffeine can increase alertness, improve your mood, and sharpen your concentration. It is possible that coffee may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s due to the high concentration of antioxidants when used over the long term.

Blueberries, as well as other dark berries, provide anthocyanins, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that reduce those conditions that may contribute to brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Turmeric contains Curcumin a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that may provide benefit to memory, reduce depression, and can help new brain cells grow. 

Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are great foods for the brain as both have a few compounds that boost brain health. One of those compounds is Flavonoids; the flavonoids in chocolate gather in the brain that pertains to learning and memory. Researchers suggest that flavonoids may improve memory and slow down age related decrease in mental health. Other compounds are antioxidants and caffeine.

Eggs provide a great source of vitamins B6 and B12, folate and choline. These compounds are important to good brain health and regulating your mood.

 Broccoli contains Vitamin K which helps memory it is also a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. 

Pumpkin seeds are full of potent antioxidants and also contain magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper all which are important to proper brain function. Zinc is important to nerve signaling, deficiency of Zinc has been linked to Alzheimer’s, depression, and Parkinson’s. Magnesium is critical for learning and memory, low levels of magnesium have been linked to migraines, depression, and epilepsy. Iron deficiency can cause brain fog and reduced brain function. Copper helps control nerve signals. 

Citrus fruits that are full of antioxidants may help delay cognitive decline and decrease your risk of developing dementia.

Avocados are a good source of lutein which improves cognizance and may help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Rosemary contains carsonic acid, which aids in the protection of the brain from the chemicals linked to neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, and aging.

Greek yogurt contains probiotics, vitamins, and minerals that can relieve stress, enhance brain energy, and prevent cognitive decline and age-related memory loss.

Nuts are one of the top foods for additional brain power. Almonds contain high levels of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats; both are wonderful in reducing cognitive decline and memory loss. Walnuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can boost brain cell communication and growth. Pistachios are high in vitamin B6, which makes the blood higher in oxygen which can increase brain activity.

Diets that use these foods

The Mediterranean diet is high the list of diets that are good for the brain, but this diet is also good for your heart and it contains anti-inflammatories. 

Four other diets that provide a good amount of the foods that are good for healthy brain function are

  • The Zone
  • The Ketogenic diet
  • Vegetarian
  • South Beach

Before you start any of these see your doctor for a checkup and discuss the change of diet with him or her. One thing to remember is these are not just diets to lose weight they are a lifestyle change.

Changing your diet and combining it with exercise is a wonderful way to take responsibility for your personal health care. 

The younger you start the healthier your brain will stay; however, you can start at any age and receive great benefit from it. 

Which lifestyle change is the correct diet for your brain health is up to you and your doctor.