10 Foods to Improve Your Mental Health and Overall Wellness

Hey!

Oh my goodness, it has been SUCH a long time since I have been able to write. I want to blame it on busyness, which is mostly true – I HAVE been busy – BUT mostly it is all the changes going on in my life.

For the first time since my mental breakdown in 2018 I have been cleared to be OFF all medications! WHOOT WHOOT! Which, for those of you who don’t know, I suffered from terrible postpartum depression – which coupled with the depression I have been battling my whole – life was just a nightmare. However, I feel good lately – happy.

Sure I am tired as all get out, but I am confident that is a mom thing. Beyond that we have been doing a lot of little things around the house so that way we can prepare to sell it. We have had a God-awful leak in our roof since we bought the place three years ago. Well -we finally – FINALLY- have the $$$$ and a date set to get it fixed! No more inside snow flurries for us. Though, I am sure this will disappoint my children.

We also had BEE INFESTATION – right outside my daughters bedroom window. It was crazy and so random. It took eight huge cans of raid and a professional bee keeper to  get rid of these bees. We wanted to transfer the hive because honey bees are going instinct, but we couldn’t. They were forming a hive within our walls so unless we wanted to be kicked out of the shack we call a home then – well — we had to kill em’.

Then my best friend moved to Florida and while I didn’t get to see her much before the move or even help with the move due to covid and busyness. I am going miss her something fierce. We have been friends sense we were fourteen. There was an odd gap in that friendship when I decided dating her older brother was more important – but we have sense moved beyond that. We will still remain friends because a bond like ours isn’t easily broken but it will be much harder now. The irony is that we moved back to Montana after living is South Carolina. So of course we move back west and she moves south. Funny how life works.

So there you have it, my emotional woes of why I have been putting my blog on the back burner. AND now, I have jabbered on WAY to long about stuff you could care less about – so lets move on shall we?

I am ditz. This is just a fact about me. I am one of those smart yet very much an airhead types. Plus I am forgetful as all get out. Call it mom-brain if you want but I KNOW I am not the only one who struggles with keeping my mind as strong as it should be.

Here is a list of 10 foods that will improve mental health:

  1. Dark Chocolate:  One of my best-kept (well not anymore because I am talking about it via blog…) secrets is that I eat a small handful of dark chocolate chips nightly. I used to feel bad about this – but now I can be like: “Yo’ don’t judge me I’m improving me brain powers you see?” Dark chocolate is categorized as a mood booster due to its cocoa content, which you won’t find in milk chocolate. The darker the better — 85% cocoa or more is the most beneficial. Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, (see bottom of post for more information on flavonoids.) It has been shown to boost attention and memory, enhance mood and help fight cognitive decline in adults. You just have to remember that chocolate should be eaten in moderation. dark-chocolate-190805-800x450.jpg
  2. Blueberries: Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that may delay brain aging and improve memory. They and other deeply colored berries deliver anthocyanin, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These antioxidants act against both oxidative stress (oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body) and inflammation, conditions that may contribute to brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Phew- that was a mouth full! I read A LOT of medical and health journals – just so I can find these fun little wisdom nuggets! Lately I have been putting frozen blueberries in my morning strawberry fizz drink (which is an vegan energy drink) and once I have consumed my beverage and happily eat the remaining berries that bottom. 0D03D4C2-1E04-4234-9A83-DD1601FD9030
  3. Broccoli: Broccoli contains a number of compounds that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, including vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to make various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of bones. Beyond vitamin K, broccoli contains a number of compounds that give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help protect the brain against damage. Broccoli is one of the veggie’s I force everyone to eat, whether I bake it or make rice out of it. My household eats A LOT of broccoli. Something else to keep in mind, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, in addition to broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K as well.IMG_1332
  4. Oily Fish: Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help build membranes around each cell in the body, including the brain cells. They can, therefore, improve the structure of brain cells called neurons. These includes salmon, mackerel. tuna, herring, and sardines. 
  5. Green Tea: Matcha_UsuchaAnother reason I consume my strawberry fizz everyday is because of it’s botanical blend. It has ginseng root which helps support physical capacity and performance and GREEN TEA with guarana which provide you with 55mg of naturally derived caffeine. The caffeine in green tea boosts brain function, overall alertness, performance, and best of all – YOUR MEMORY AND FOCUS!!! YES! IN addition to this, green tea also has other components that make it a brain-healthy beverage. One of them is L-theanine, an amino acid that can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps reduce anxiety and makes you feel more relaxedL-theanine also increases the frequency of alpha waves in the brain, which helps you relax without making you feel tired!It’s also rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that may protect the brain from mental decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. I love green tea, whether it is in my fizz or from a tea bag – I consume it regularly – have sense HS.
  6. Nuts & Seeds: Eating more nuts and seeds are also good for the brain, because they also contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants just like you would find in oily fish. Nuts and seeds are also rich sources of the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. (I also talked about this above when I talked about the health benefits of blueberries. Crazy how they start to go hand in hand right?) Anyways, as a person ages, their brain may be exposed to this form of oxidative stress, and vitamin E may therefore support brain health in older age.The nuts and seeds with the highest amounts of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds,  and hazelnuts.unnamed
  7. Beans: Fun fact about our favorite gas-inducing food, they are also one of the top food choices for a happy, healthy brain. Full of fiber (hence the gas) and antioxidants, beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans, for example) keep you fuller for longer, keeping your blood sugar stable and enabling you to burn more energy (which, as we know is essential for good mental health). Beans also contain thiamine, a vitamin needed for the production of acetylcholine (the neurotransmitter essential for memory). SOOOO – get tooting my friends because beans are for the win. images
  8. EggsEnjoyed by many for breakfast, eggs can be an effective brain food.They are a great source of B vitamins! Such as vitamin B-6, B-12, and folic acid. The only question here is how do you like your eggs? images-2.jpeg
  9. Whole Grains: Whole grains are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to produce serotonin (aka, the ‘feel good hormone’). Serotonin assists in calming the mind, improving your mood and maintaining a steady sleep cycle. Which is ALSO we should be careful of when and how often we consume our whole grains. Tryptophan is also known for making you sleepy an too many carbs sticks to use like chunky glue.grains
  10. Tomatoes: The source of a tomato’s red hue, lycopene is classified as an all-around beneficial phytonutrient. One of the many health boosts it provides is in the fight against brain disease. It’s been shown to delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, fighting off cell damage. In addition, lycopene has been shown to help with memory, attention, logic and concentration. tomatoes-1296x728-feature.jpg
     

 

There are so many more foods that help out your  beloved brain – but these were my top ten!

 

What is a flavonoid?

  • Flavonoids are a group of plant metabolites thought to provide health benefits through cell signalling pathways and antioxidant effects. These molecules are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Flavonoids are polyphenolic molecules containing 15 carbon atoms and are soluble in water.
  • Flavonoids help regulate cellular activity and fight off free radicals that cause oxidative stress on your body. In simpler terms, they help your body function more efficiently while protecting it against everyday toxins and stressors.
  • Flavonoids are also powerful antioxidant agent: naturally occurring plant pigments, flavonoids are one of the reasons fruits and vegetables are so good for you. Among the many benefits attributed to flavonoids are reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and stroke. … But flavonoids go beyond the yeoman work of your average antioxidant.

 

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