Six ways nutrition can help with mental health

Six ways nutrition can help with mental health
Courtesy: Reuters

The fast pace of modern life means the vast majority of us are constantly bombarded with tasks and commitments.

More and more people are experiencing burnout, as well as anxiety and depression, with the figures on the rise in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week this week (May 9-15), registered nutritional therapist for Vitaminology, Rose Legge, has shared the nutrients that are beneficial for supporting mental health and general wellbeing.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 helps to convert carbohydrates into glucose, which in turn, produces energy.

"This is very good news if you are at a low ebb! Natural sources of vitamin B5 include mushrooms, salmon, avocado, chicken, beef liver, sunflower seeds, whole milk, sweet potatoes and more," she explained.

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Magnesium

Magnesium is thought to help anxiety and mood, as well as helping to promote natural sleep.

"Incorporate magnesium into your diet through dark leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans such as butter beans and black beans, brown rice, cacao, avocados and bananas," advised Rose.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important nutrient because it boosts the immune system and is also an antioxidant.

"Increase your intake by incorporating bell peppers, kiwi, oranges, lemons, broccoli, strawberries, papaya, blackcurrant, Brussel sprouts and potato skin into your diet," the expert explained.

Support a healthy gut

The gut and brain communicate with each other via complex pathways, known as the gut-brain axis.

"If the gut is inflamed or has an imbalance, this can have an impact on the brain and contribute to anxiety. To help support the gut microbiome ensure to include fibre in your diet," she noted.

Fibre

Beneficial microbes require fibre to thrive and multiply. Aim to consume 30g of fibre each day.

"Gut microbes are particularly fond of onions, leeks, artichokes, bananas, oats, asparagus, garlic, berries and cacao," said Rose. "Other ways to support your gut microbiome are by consuming fermented products such as yoghurt and kombucha as well as probiotics."

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Healthy fats

Healthy fats such as omega-3 essential fatty acids are good for brain health and can be found in oily fish.

"Simply remember the acronym SMASH (salmon, mackerel, anchovy, sardines, and herring) and ensure you are eating at least one portion of oily fish per week. Other sources include olive oil, olives, nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocados and coconut oil," she added.

(Cover Media/Reuters)

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