Eating healthy is crucial not only for your physical health but also the mental and cognitive health. What you eat will definitely have an impact on your brain. A majority of the people are more interested in keeping their waistline small and forget the possible medical conditions from poor mental health. Dementia and other brain health related issues are brought about by poor mental and cognitive health. This is why it’s important to pay attention to what you eat, particularly foods that boosts your mental health. You should learn to distinguish between the healthy food for your brain and junk food.
According to various studies across the world, it has been observed that diet is an important aspect in promoting brain health. But not just any diet plan will work.
The food must provide essential nutrients that the brain requires to develop and function properly. From most of the observational studies, fruits and vegetables and other plant foods such as nuts and legumes have a high level of nutrients that the brain requires. Good proteins from fish and beans are also on the list of foods that can help improve your mental and cognitive health.
The vegetables and some fruits such as avocado provide the most need nutrients such as iron, folate, and vitamin A, B6, B12 and C, among others. The fish nourishes the brain with the omega 3 essential fatty acids which are also highly recommended for cognitive health. It’s important to note not all species of fish can provide these essential fatty acids. Deep-water sea fish such as the salmon are highly recommended for their high levels of these fatty acids.
Avoid junk food as much as you can. They might be sweet and yummy but they are very dangerous to your health. Unfortunately, they are the most available foods everywhere you go. Avoid excessively consumption processed meat, sweets, snacks and refined grains. Junk foods are known for increasing depression, anxiety and other health conditions such as obesity and heart problems. If you want to grab a bite of your favourite junk food snack, don’t do it regularly.
It’s important to note that both the veggies and the junk food are independent of each other. The symptoms associated with lack of essential brain nutrients can also affect those with low junk intake. Similarly, even if you take nutrient dense foods, you will still be affected by processed food.
One of the most important things to observe is the impact of the diet on the development of human’s behaviour. Does what a mother eat during pregnancy affect the child’s behaviour and mental development?
Impact of Diet Early in Life
Proper diet is important to human development right from the start of life. By the start of life, we mean even during the pregnancy period. It is important to note that during pregnancy, the baby feeds on what the mother eats. If the mother eats junk, this is what will reach the baby, and the same case goes for nutritious food.
From various studies, it has been proven that mothers who eat unhealthily during pregnancy give birth to children with a higher risk of mental disorders. It has also been observed that children’s diet in their first year had a great influence on the behaviour. It’s clear from these two observations that diet is crucial from the start of life. It’s parent’s duty to ensure that their young ones are provided with the necessary nutrients for proper mental health right from early stages of their lives. Veggies and fruits should always feature in the diet.
Teasing Out the Cause from the Correlation
Nutrition psychiatrists have been trying to explain the relationship between the mental health and the diet. There has a great debate whether ill mental health promotes a change in diet rather than the other way round. The key question has been what comes first between depression and junk food. According to several observation studies, the results have been contradictory with no clear answer to the question.
It is also important to note that diet can help in improving depression and other mental conditions. Different studies have proved that patients who undergo depression treatment, and combine it with healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, fish, healthy oils and nuts) while lowering their consumption of unhealthy foods (such as snacks, sugary drinks, fried food and fast food) showed much greater improvement compared to their counterparts.
Why More Veggies?
Although depression has been defined as a brain disorder, researchers believe that it’s a whole-body disorder. This is in consideration of the emerging risk factors such as chronic inflammation. The main causes of this inflammation have been identified to be poor diet, obesity, Lack of vitamin D, lack of exercises, stress, as well as the lack of sleep. But a proper diet is highly recommended to treat and manage this condition.
It is crystal clear that you need to more veggies in your diet to improve your mental and brain health. These foods contain crucial nutrients for proper brain functioning and development. For the expectant and lactating mothers, mind what you eat as well as it will have a direct impact on your child. Try and increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables today, and feel the benefits sooner.