The foods that we choose for our bodies and minds can have a huge impact on the way that we feel. I am not a Health Professional, anything that I share about food is based on my own experience of living with anxiety and depression. Over the years I have found that certain foods make me feel less anxious. I have also found that some foods feed my brain in a good way and that others simply feed the depression.
It is important to remember that you are human, I don’t make the best choices every single day. I slip up occasionally and choose food based on my mood rather than what I know is best for my body. Ironically, choosing food based on mood is not always the best thing for the mood! For example, ice cream appeals to me when I am feeling a little down, and it provides temporary relief (and pleasure!) however I know that it is not ideal if eaten regularly.
Based on my own experience, these are some of the foods that I find assist me with good mental health:
Kale: I love this vegetable! It is a staple in most of my meals, not because it is popular or a fad. It is such a densely green and nutritious leafy vegetable that I eat every morning with my egg, at lunch in a salad and with dinner in various ways.
Salmon: Oily fish such as wild farmed salmon contains good fats, and these are known to assist with good mental health. A medium rare salmon fillet or raw sashimi style salmon is one of my absolute food favourites! I often eat salmon Asian style, lightly grilled with toasted sesame oil, coriander, a splash of Tamari and lots of greens.
Pasta: I know this is a bit of a controversial one, and it may be a little contradictory for me to say that I find pasta really comforting and filling and sleep inducing. It is one of those foods that gets a bad name and although the evidence seems a little wishy washy, I find that it does assist me with good mental health. I only eat pasta once a fortnight and it is always with a really healthy sauce such as a slow cooked grass fed beef and vegetables.
Berries: I love fresh raspberries, blueberries and blackberries! As far as sugar content goes I think that berries are some of the better choices if you are conscious of your sugar intake.
Chilli: I have found that chilli and other hot spices really pick up my energy levels and alertness. Most afternoons I have a bit of a ‘water cocktail’ around 3PM .. in a water bottle I combine water, cayenne pepper, turmeric and either fresh lime or lemon. It is a spicy afternoon kick in the butt and it seriously works a treat!
Eggs: Such an important whole food, packed with protein and goodness! I have one egg a day around 10AM poached in olive oil, with kale and avocado.
Turkey: Amazing lean protein, turkey can be used pretty much the same as chicken and also red meat in dishes such as pasta sauce. Gwyneth also has an amazing recipe for turkey burgers in her ‘It’s All Good’ cookbook.
Buddha Bowls: Also called Hippie Bowls, these are the most beautiful and simple meals in a bowl. Have a look at this recipe and your mood will improve instantly!
Water: Absolutely essential for keeping well hydrated and alert throughout the day! I sometimes add chopped fresh fruit to my water bottle for the mornings, before my afternoon water cocktail!
Avocado: Another amazing whole food packed with the good fats and other nutrients. I eat roughly 2-3 avocados a week.
Do you have any favourite foods for good mental health?