Your brain works 24/7, and just like a car, it will perform better with premium fuel. What you eat can make a big difference in your mood, anxiety, and even depression. Research shows that if you change your diet, you can feel the benefit in a relatively short span of time.
Nutritious foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish and protect the brain. They can reduce inflammation and also restore a healthy balance in gut bacteria—healthy gut, healthy mind.
Good gut bacteria not only influence what your gut digests and absorbs but also impact your mood, behavior, and energy levels. In fact, studies have shown that when people take probiotics to restore their gut health, their anxiety levels, sense of stress, and mental outlook also improve.
The gut is also responsible for producing a neurotransmitter called serotonin. About 95 percent of it is produced in your digestive system, and it is supported by good bacteria. Serotonin helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain.
On the flip side, diets high in refined sugars have been linked to impaired brain function, and poor diets have been shown to impact areas of the brain important for learning, memory, and mood regulation.
So what are some good mood foods?
Nuts include a wide range of nutrients that are important for brain health, including vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, manganese, copper, B-group vitamins, and healthy fats. Regularly eating nuts can improve cognition and memory and boost learning skills.
seize the citrus
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and mandarins are particularly high in flavonoids—nutritional compounds important for maintaining cognition and memory as we age. If you are not a citrus fan, try apples and berries for a flavonoid boost.
grab the leafy greens
Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach are packed with magnesium, which boosts mood, combats tiredness, and helps you produce energy.
find friendly fermented foods
Fermented foods contain probiotics, and research shows that probiotic-rich diets help to reduce stress and help memory. Fermented foods include yogurt with active cultures, kefir, tempeh, and sauerkraut.
help yourself to whole-grain breakfast options
Eating breakfast every day should be a “no brainer.” It can lift your mood and has been associated with improved cognitive function and concentration in school children. For long-lasting energy, choose such healthy breakfast options as whole-grain cereals or oats, low-fat yogurt, and fruit or whole-grain toast and spreads. Whole-grain cereals and bread are also good sources of fiber, which is important for good gut health.
Receive the latest nutrition advice, plus health and wellness tips to help you live a healthier, happier, and longer life. Subscribe to sanitarium.com.au/subscribe.