A healthy diet can help combat depression and play an important role in how we feel physically and mentally
A 2017 study conducted in Australia demonstrated that individuals with moderate to severe depression improved their mood through implementing a healthier diet.
Your brain uses more energy than any other organ, and just like any other part of your body, it needs good nutrients to function at its best and also to aid the process of repair and rejuvenation.Deborah Colson, Cognitive Nutritionist
At Re:Cognition Health, we are passionate about optimising brain performance and believe that nutrition plays an integral part to brain function.
Below Deborah shares her top tips for brain nutrition:
Keep processed foods to a minimum
Processed foods are nutritionally poor. They lack vital micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Your brain needs these micronutrients in order to function at its best. Processed foods are also more likely to contain additives and preservatives which are foreign chemicals that require detoxification.
Fats are friends
The brain is a very fatty organ (over 60% of its dry weight is fat) and is the most cholesterol-rich organ in the body. Interestingly, despite what you may believe about fat being bad for you, it’s actually essential for your brain.
Essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6 found in oily fish, nuts and seeds) are especially important and you should aim for 2-3 portions of oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel sardines) per week, with regular intake of nuts and seeds. Saturated fats from good quality meat, dairy, eggs, coconut oil are also an important part of a brain healthy diet.
Sweeten with caution
Sugar is very bad for your brain (and artificial sweeteners aren’t any better!). Excess sugar increases your risk of dementia, along with heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The brain consists of around 70% water therefore it’s important to maintain good hydration levels. This is because dehydration can be detrimental to cognitive performance, memory and attention.
Mind the bottle
Alcohol is toxic to the brain so keep your intake to moderate and occasional.
Bacteria for the Brain
Bacteria living in your gut can affect your brain. In fact, an abundant and diverse population of gut bacteria are essential for brain health. This is due to the constant two-way communication going on between gut and brain.
Pack in the Protein
Serotonin, the mood boosting hormone, is made in the gut as well as the brain. It’s manufactured from an amino acid (L-tryptophan) which is present in protein-rich foods, and requires micronutrients in the manufacturing process to convert the L-tryptophan into serotonin.