Oct 10 is World Mental Health Day. Mental is something that affects all of us. We will all have experience of either someone close to us or ourselves suffering from some sort of health issues at some stage of our lives.
So few of us make the link between health and something as simple as the we are . But it can make a huge difference in some cases. Within our , all the different functions and systems require different in order to work efficiently. And the brain is no different, without these , we can easily start to feel ‘not right’. A person might not be well, or they may be the right but they may not be absorbing the due to poor health or low stomach acid, for example. A whole section of our nervous system sits in our , often referred to as our ‘second brain’, so an unhealthy is going to play havoc with our .
Of course, antidepressants have their place and they are a lifesaver for many people. But they don’t suit everyone and in some cases they can make matters drastically worse, adding more chemicals into an already overloaded isiting a nutritional therapist or functional medicine practioner coupled with the help of a health practitioner can be a very helpful natural approach., giving our , even more, to deal with, the liver more to detox and damaging the further. So it can be a vicious circle! In this instance taking a holistic approach to our can be a great option. V
For all of us, no matter how well we are feeling, it is really important to look after our , because when we are feeling bad often we are not motivated to do anything. So setting up these good habits when we are feeling good means they will be established and almost second nature then when we are not feeling our best. We hear of people talking about exercise and meditation being ‘great for the head’, well your can do the same in its own way!
The brain is predominantly made up of fat. a rich in good fats is going to benefit you immensely and promote a healthily functioning brain. Wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, , beneficial oils, nuts and seeds are all great sources. such as MoreEPA can also be a great option.
Amino acids are also very important for brain health, for example in the making of our neurotransmittors. We get these from the we , for example our meat or fish. It is important to focus on the quality of these products. and local would be the best, as the chemicals and drugs added to cheaper generic meats can actually be damaging to the brain.
And vitamins and minerals are exceptionally important, namely , potassium, magnesium, Vit B6, Vit B3, VIt B12, folic acid, Vit D, Zinc. A varied wholefoods rich in leafy green veg, nuts, seeds, wholegrains will get all of these in. A multinutrient may also be beneficial in some cases.
In the world we live in today we have a lot of and physical coming at us. Stress and toxins can cause free radicals and oxidative damage in the , we need antioxidants in our to combat this. Eating a variety of brightly coloured fruits and veg will really help here.
Gluten can have a negative effect on brain health in some cases. In the case of someone with a compromised , gluten can play havoc with the whole including the brain and eliminating it has seen fantastic results in some cases. Even just choosing a more traditional grain or product can make a difference. There are great alternatives available now like spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, millet and sourdough bread is widely available now too which is great.
Here are some handy tips on how to incorporate this into everyday :
Eggs are fantastic brain food, add some veg for a seriously nutritious start to the day. Try a side of , & .
Smoothies or smoothie bowls are such a handy place to squeeze in lots of great . Veg, fruit, , nuts, seeds, oils, lecithin, even multi- or green powders and probiotics can all be added to a morning smoothie for a great boost first thing!
If porridge is your thing, go for a nice gluten-free brand. Porridge is a great base for adding lots of goodies. Nuts and seeds, especially ground like flax, lecithin, gojis, nut butters, berries, the list is endless, there’s a different option for every day of the week.
Nuts are serious brain boosters and seeds too. Nut and seed butters are dead handy for snacking. Almond on an apple or seed on veg sticks is great.
Hummus and dips like pesto are other good snacking options too with veg sticks or seed/oat crackers, handy and portable and really tasty.
If you prefer a sweeter option try some dark chocolate melted with your favourite nuts and seeds added, refridgerate and break into pieces.
Or power balls are great too, the perfect place to fit in ingredients like tahini and cacao, high sources of and magnesium.
Berries also are great as they are high in antioxidants. A handy snack with a handful of nuts/seeds.
Main meals can be packed with lots of colourful veg for lots of antioxidants, these will combat any oxidative going on in the .
A good quality source of should be added to all to keep blood sugar stable and those amino acids will give the nervous system the raw materials it needs to make those neurotransmitters.
Anti-inflammatories in the form of herbs and spices can be added to all dishes from curries to .
Extra Virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar are great additions to dressings
Coconut oil is great for cooking with or drizzling over cooked veg
Dehyrdation can have a terrible effect on the A squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water has great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.. Plenty of water is needed to keep you fully hydrated. Filtered or mineral water are preferable as you can be sure they are free of any toxins or heavy metals.
Herbal teas are great. The likes of chamomile is very calming and relaxing. Rooibos, high in antioxidants, is a great alternative to a regular black tea, which can leach from the .
Happy ! And remember the we can build us up or break us down, listen to your , see what makes you feel good and bad. Fuel your with natural whole your and mind will reap the benefits. Good luck!
Blog credit: Kara Reilly Current IINH Student