Benefits of a Healthy Diet on Mental Health

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The word diet gets tossed around in the media, whether it’s a new juice fad, a celebrity endorsing a miracle low carb plan or the latest Hollywood hunk telling you where to buy your protein bars from. Across the western world, we’re obsessed with both what we consume, and the effects, but maybe the hippies with their plant based diets and green smoothies aren’t miles off. Aside from the clear physiological effects a healthy diet can have on the body, what we consume can also have a huge positive or negative impact on our mental health as well.

Check out these nutrition staples to make sure you stay sharp for years and years to come.

  • Coconut Oil

Coconut has been used for years for many different purposes such as cooking, or as a beauty product. Considered a super food for all its fantastic health benefits, coconut oil contains MCT’s (Medium Chain Triglycerides), these act as fuel for your brain, and can also improve overall heart health. It can also be used as a substitute for olive or vegetable when frying foods.

  • Tea

Despite its origins mostly lying in the east, Tea has become an absolute cultural staple of British society. From afternoon tea in luxury manor houses, to entire stores and businesses dedicated to the most unique of blends. As a nation, people love it, and we can completely agree. “Matcha” is a finely ground powder made from the green tea leaf, and is fantastic due to its incredible health benefits. These include clearing out toxins, fighting cancer and keeping us looking young. It contains the amino acid L-Theanine, known for its ability to improve mental clarity, improve focus and cognitive function. Great for those afternoon slumps, or to help reduce stress.

  • Vitamin B12

A deficiency in B12 is becoming considerably more common in society, with many people suffering from anaemia and other deficiency related problems. Symptoms can range from fatigue, lack of appetite and feelings of lethargy. It can also lead to depression, and is known to slowly creep up on people without them even noticing. Most animal products contain B12, therefore anyone who avoids animal products for ethical or religious reasons are likely to either need a B12 supplement, or to try and consume foods that are additionally fortified with the vitamin.

  • Vitamin D

Courtesy of natural sunlight, most people will get more than their fair share of vitamin D. But for many of us, we spend most of our time indoors, or live in low sunlight cities with tall buildings, reducing the amount of sunlight we can absorb. Vitamin D deficiency can reduce mood and cause feelings of anxiety, result in pain and even stress fractures in the lower limbs. Sunlight/Vitamin D deficiency has also been heavily linked to depression and cognitive impairment. Be sure to get out in the sun as much as possible, and if you live somewhere with low sunlight, look at foods high in vitamin D or supplements.

  • Dark Leafy Greens

Although perhaps not the most appealing salad ingredient by the handful, Popeye was definitely on the right path when he said spinach makes you strong. Leafy greens such as spinach, romaine lettuce and broccoli are naturally high in folic acid. Deficiencies in folate as well as other B vitamins (see previous mention) have been linked with symptoms of depression, fatigue and other mental health ailments.

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