While diet is not the whole story with mental health, there are clear connections between the gut and the brain, indicating that how we eat may influence our mood.
In fact, a 2017 study showed that depression symptoms improved when people received nutritional counselling sessions and ate a more healthful diet for 12 weeks.
Here are 5 foods that have been linked to improving mental health:
Brazil nuts are loaded with selenium and several studies indicate that selenium can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Other selenium rich foods include seafood and whole grains.
Early studies indicate that omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful in conjunction with other therapies, to improve depression.
Omega-3 rich foods include salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines, but you can also easily supplement for this nutrient as well.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, which are designed to help remove dangerous free-radicals from the body and cause cellular damage.
Studies have linked increased free radicals, and the resulting oxidative damage, to neurological disease.
As such, while there are no direct studies proving that antioxidants will prevent disease, including them into our diet makes good sense.
B vitamin rich foods
B12 and B9 specifically have been connected to mental health and keeping the brain functioning optimally.
The good news that eggs, beef, chicken, fish, and milk contain both.
Zinc rich foods
Studies indicate that zinc may be lower in people that suffer from depression. While this might just be a correlation, and not yet proven to be a true cause of depression, there are easy things we can do to increase our zinc intake.
Notably zinc can be found in seafood, whole grains, most meat products and legumes.
Dr. Mike Molloy is a Nutrition Coach and Founder of M2 Performance Nutrition. www.m2performancenutrition.com