Brain Gain: Nutritional Benefits from Food for Mental Health

In my long experience with making food (and enjoying it!), I’ve tinkered with a wide array of dietary plans designed to suit the daily needs of an individual. It’s a given that anyone can easily get vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, giving the body what it needs to recuperate and grow healthy. Eating healthy meats such as lean beef and fish is a great way to provide protein for your muscles to grow. However, there is more than meets the eye regarding these foods and how they are prepared.

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Simply put, there are foods and supplements that give better than average benefits, targeting specific health conditions or body parts. As such, the most important foods to look out for are foods that can help with mental health, and ultimately boost mental performance – since your mental health is indeed significant in everyday living.

This is why I found it imperative that I discover all the ways to maintain my mental health in the best way possible. It’s time to take in some brain food, know what you are getting from them, and even consider some supplements. Here is a run-down of the much needed vitamins and nutrients for keeping the brain healthy and functioning well.

DHA and Omega 3

Our brain functions by way of the neurons or nerve cells found in them. Keeping neurons and their connections maintained means that the brain can work steadily. But, how exactly do we do that?

Eating foods that are rich in Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA does the job. DHA is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in the brain and is a structural component of neuronal membranes. An adequate level of DHA in cell membranes is important for many functions of neural cells

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One of the best foods for consuming DHA is fish. Fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and others are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are actually very good for the brains. Conversely, cell membranes with abundant omega 3 fatty acids are associated with lowered rates of not only heart disease and diabetes, but also depression. Yes, by eating fish, you are less likely to be depressed.

A study by the Medical College of Qingdao University in China took a closer look at the potential impact a steady diet of fish could have with regard to a person’s risk of depression. In the study, the participants who ate the most fish had an average of 17 percent reduction in depression risk compared to those who ate the least amount of fish. When researchers broke down the gender differences, men had a 20 percent lower risk of depression, while women had a 16 percent lower risk. Not only was there a correlation between fish diets and depression, but researchers also believe it could be used as a way to prevent or stave off depression symptoms before they start.

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There are many ways we can prepare a dish made out of fish. In fact, I like to get creative in its preparation. Salmon is always enjoyable to prepare since I can bake it, grill it and marinade it with my choice of sauce. Almost every time I have fish on my menu, I get to savor that rich meat because of its healthy fat. The same goes with tuna as we can prepare tuna casserole or even put it into a taco for eating on the go.

Vitamin E

With over 90% of Americans not consuming RDA for vitamin E, and most people eating less than half of the RDA they should, there exists a significant opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of this nutrient for brain health.

There are many forms of vitamin E. Recent data from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm states that all plasma Vitamin E forms may play a role in brain health. It is then quickly backed up by a paper published in the Neurobiology of Aging, saying that the risk of mild cognitive impairment or MCI was 15% lower in people with the highest levels of vitamin E.  Likewise, there is a link to vitamin E with Alzheimer’s disease. Participants with MCI and Alzheimer’s also displayed higher blood levels of markers of vitamin E damage.

Kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E and folate. For example, one cup of raw spinach has 15% of our daily intake of vitamin E, and 1/2 a cup of cooked spinach has 25% of our daily intake. Exactly how folate may protect the brain is unclear, but it may be by lowering levels of an amino acid known as homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine may trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain, but folic acid helps break down homocysteine levels.

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Although both are high in fat, peanuts and peanut butter tend to be a source of healthy fats. They are also packed with vitamin E. Both foods may help keep the heart and brain healthy and functioning properly.

Other good choices are almonds and hazelnuts. I love preparing leafy greens because the fruits and vegetables can be varied according to preference. I usually upgrade my regular Caesar’s Salad by adding my preferred dressing and some almonds to enrich the taste.

Nootropic Compounds

There are various ways we can go about being mentally healthy and improving mental performance. An easy and effective way that I learned is by using Nootropics.

Many supplements that support mental health are used today mainly because of the benefits that may be reaped from them such as improved memory and speed of recall, enhanced learning capacity and attention span, increased mental energy, focus, concentration and clarity of thought. These pills are scientifically known as Nootropics but are often known as ‘Smart Pills’. These pills can also aid in some mental cases such as anxiety, depression and symptoms of other serious mental illnesses.

This supplement may prove to be a real life limitless pill. As for me, it kept me sharp and mentally stable while I go about doing my job and regular day. I suggest that you try Nootropics like Noopept which is did marvels for me. I really felt that it improved my cognitive skills and kept me feeling alert and happy all day along.

noopept

There are other benefits to taking smart pills. For example, if a person is suffering from anxiety, they can get L-Theanine from the local pharmacy. Most of L-theanine’s effects have to do with promoting relaxation and positively affecting mood. Since they have access to the central nervous system, psychoactive substances, such as L-theanine, are believed to have the ability to affect mental abilities and psychological states. Also, it is thought to have a stronger effect when combined with caffeine.

By the way, these drugs are in fact legal and are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA. Noopept is 100% legal in the United States. You can lawfully purchase, possess and use it. That means that you won’t get in trouble for buying it, even if you purchase it over the internet or from another country.

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