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8 Foods That Not Only Heal Your Body but Also Boost Your Mental Health

Healthy foods are not only healthy for your body, but also for your mind. Your mind and body are more connected than you might think. They practically interact with each other through the nervous system. When you feel stressed, your brain will tell your gut, and this can impact your mood and energy level. That’s why, if you often feel moody or nervous, it’s time to take a look at your daily food intake. You might be surprised at the impact healthy foods can have on your overall mental health.

Bright Side is offering you a list of healthy foods that may impact your body and mental health in a positive way.

1. Soy

Soy contains amino acids that are crucial for your body’s muscles and bones, and they help deal with sleep disorders and insomnia. It also reduces the risks of more serious issues, like Alzheimer’s.

For women, soy can be very helpful. Many women during menopause deal with mood swings, lack of concentration, and tiredness, and there is no better remedy than healing yourself naturally. Menopause progressively stops the production of estrogen, and soy can be one of the solutions to gain it back. It contains something called isoflavones, which are plant-based chemicals that are like a replacement for estrogen that women in this stage need. These can be found in tofu, soy milk, miso soup, soy yogurt, and soy flour. On the other hand, it can be responsible for the early onset of puberty and menopause due to affecting the brain, so don’t go over the top with soy if you’re not experiencing menopause.

2. Salmon

Salmon is an omega-rich food — more specifically, it contains omega-3. It is directly linked to the brain and helps improve the function of cells, resulting in a lower risk of sadness, depression, memory issues, and for older people, dementia.

Your body cannot generate omega-3 by itself, so eating foods like salmon is a necessity for better functioning. This type of fatty fish balances the hormones and makes you feel less chunky, controls your appetite, and boosts serotonin, the happy hormone. Think of it as a happy meal — we don’t feel bloated and we’re not still hungry afterward. Isn’t that great?

3. Raw garlic

There are many benefits raw garlic offers the brain, including improved memory that is essential for the elderly. You can either eat raw garlic by itself or mix it into salads, depending on what you prefer (it’s particularly strong, so you may want to mix it with something else).

Allicin is a compound that carries sulfur, and this compound is only present in raw garlic. It helps with aging, diseases, and increases serotonin levels.

4. Bittersweet chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate is a bit different than regular, sweet chocolate. The difference is that it contains a high range of cocoa (50%-90%), the main ingredient here. Keep in mind that the darker the chocolate, the better! When you consume this kind of chocolate, it tells your brain to release endorphins, which are feel-better chemicals that help manage stress and thus increase feelings of happiness.

Cocoa also progresses blood flow to your brain, which means that for the elderly, it betters their mental function by easing their production of words and helps them feel more balanced.

5. Walnuts

Many nuts, such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds, are great for brain health, but the best kinds of nuts are walnuts. Walnuts are a great source of protein and healthy fat that help keep blood sugar levels balanced and manage cleaner arteries.

They have omega-3s which have a good effect on mood while decreasing anxiety and depression. In turn, consuming them daily will lead to better optimism, energy, hope, and focus.

6. Sage

While sage isn’t exactly a food, it’s a great supplement to add to your food. It consists of antioxidants that help boost memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and attentiveness.

Another element that sage has is something called flavonoids, which are plant compounds that better brain health and prevent serious illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s. In addition to these benefits, it helps prevent depression, anxiety, and improves digestion.

7. Vitamin C

There’s no doubt that vitamin C helps aid health in the adjustment of bodily tissue and the immune system, but it also has an effect on your emotions. If you feel mentally fatigued and tired all the time, it’s probably because you’re not getting enough vitamin C.

Oranges, kiwis, peppers, strawberries, kale, and many more all include the magical component known as vitamin C, which is beneficial to brain health and prevents mental downturn. It helps enhance focus, memory, and attention, and decreases risks of depression, anxiety, and more serious diseases.

8. Seaweed

Dear sushi lovers, this one’s for you. Even though seaweed is mostly popular in Asia, it is widely recognized as having many health benefits for the brain. Seaweed contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great assets for your mind. Magnesium is another component in seaweed that might help deal with stress, along with iodine, which is good for mental performance.

Sushi, for example, is wrapped in seaweed. Other edible seaweeds are kelp, wakame, nori, and many more. Some ways to eat them include snacking on dried nori and adding kombu to cooked beans.

Bonus: what to avoid

The majority of serotonin receptors (happy buddies) are actually in the gut, and when we eat processed foods, our stomach doesn’t know how to operate with something “fabricated,” so it slowly rejects it. That’s why everything that we eat affects our brain.

What to avoid:
1. Substances: can trigger and worsen depression and anxiety.
2. Caffeine: feelings of restlessness and anxiousness can occur.
3. Fast food and high trans fats: promotes inflammation, interfering with serotonin levels.
4. Refined sugar: responsible for mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

Do you have issues with tiredness and anxiety? Which of these foods are you willing to try to improve your mental health?

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