Food for me is about enjoyment, celebrations and gatherings, as well as being a source of strength and energy. As many of us understand to some extent, food plays a part in a healthy functioning body. But perhaps you haven’t thought much about the impact that food has on your mind?
What does food represent for you?
Foods for nourishing a healthy mind
Do you ever notice how what you think or how you feel can impact on what you eat? I sometimes mentally note down my own habits; what my eating habits look like when I’m feeling happy, sad, angry… there are certainly patterns that can emerge in what I eat when I’m feeling fatigued or restless!
Food for thought: What foods do you turn to when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, tired?
It’s our own choice
The beautiful thing about food is that it’s our choice in whether we eat quick fix junk foods or fresh, unprocessed / less processed foods. Gaining an awareness of what we are eating helps us to recognise the patterns that we might have with food, whether they are healthy or unhealthy patterns.
Healthy food for a healthy mind
If you are keen to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally, consider eating more fruit, vegetables and other fresh unprocessed foods such as eggs, nuts and seeds.
For more information about eating fresh unprocessed foods in your eating, check out:
- Better Health: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/healthyliving/healthy-eating
- Eat for Health: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating
- The Heart Foundation: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating
Eat for Health Healthy Food Suggestions for a Healthy Mind
Let’s have a look at three categories of foods that can support a healthy brain; foods high in fibre, antioxidants and/or Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
Green leafy vegetables
Chances are you’ve heard that you need your leafy greens, and for a number of reasons!
Green leafy vegetables are high in fibre and folate
Don’t know where to start? Start with some kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, broccoli, watercess, cabbage or bok choy.
A low fibre diet has been linked to depression. Stock up on your fibre needs with a bowl of baked beans and you’ll also top up on magnesium, which can help with your digestion.
Yes, bread actually makes the list this time! All in moderation, my friend.
FOODS HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Sunflower seeds contain tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that helps produce serotonin. Put in your muesli or as a salad topper!
High in antioxidants and vitamin C, which can support your immunity.
Bananas are high in antioxidants and B vitamins, as well as fibre to help keep your bowels healthy!
Sweet potatoes contain antioxidant beta-carotene, which supports immunity, as well as being high in fibre.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Walnuts contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which can play a positive role in your mood as Omega 3’s help support healthy brain function. Now that’s a good reason to eat walnuts!