Three Ways to Nourish the Mind

What do Lady Gaga and Prince Harry of Wales have in common? You might have thought, “not much,” but the two of them are front and center when it comes to bringing awareness to mental health.

We are so used to being on autopilot that many times we are guilty of not stopping and checking in with ourselves. And what I mean is that we forget to not only check in with our bodies, but also with our minds. Mental health wellness — initially, a topic feared and rarely addressed with candor — has now gained popularity with charities and movements started by the singer Lady Gaga through Born This Way, as well as the Royal family in the UK, through the Heads Together foundation. Both are charities that bring awareness to mental wellness and how much we shouldn’t be treating it as a mere afterthought.

Some ways to take care of the mind include surrounding yourself with positive people, building healthy and supportive relationships, and managing stress. These are very important! It’s easy, however, to forget about nutrition when talking about mental health.

Properly nourishing and fueling the mind is key. Research shows that a diet high in fruits, veggies, unprocessed grains, and fish — while also striving to limit dairy and sugar — can provide the mind with great benefits. And here are some of the nutrient superstars for brain health:

Omega-3

These are also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids and are essential fats because we can only get them through foods since our bodies don’t produce them. Some of the main sources of the famous EPA and DHA (types of omega-3) are fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. Another type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in many green vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as seeds like flax and chia.

Some of the omega-3 benefits include heart health, anti-inflammatory properties, and healthy brain cell function. Omega-3 fatty acids not only protect the brain tissue from inflammation but also promote its healing. DHA, a type of omega-3 can even plays a role in the proper functioning of one of the enzymes that converts serotonin into melatonin, a sleep regulating hormone.

B Vitamins 

There are more B vitamins than one can imagine. This is why it’s easier usually to just remember them as the Bs instead of naming each one. B vitamins are fundamental when it comes to improving mood, reducing anxiety, and promoting overall brain health. Most B vitamins can be found in a variety of fruits and veggies, in particular the dark greens. There is one exception, however — vitamin B12, which is found mainly in animal sources such as tuna, chicken, yogurt, and cheese.

Magnesium

This mineral plays a role in over 300 reactions in your body. These include supporting your immune system, muscle function, bone health, and you guessed it, brain health. Magnesium is important for a mood boost, and it can promote calmness offer relief from headaches. Some great sources of magnesium include green leafy veggies, avocados, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

 

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