We all know the feeling after a night out; a splitting headache, a dry and hoarse throat and a queasy feeling. But beyond your standard hangover and texting-the-ex-regret, most of us aren’t too clued up on what binge drinking is actually doing to our brain. The same goes for other food- or drink-related influences. What most of us do know is that eating healthy affects our health and happiness, and that a healthy brain is a matter of a healthy lifestyle. Makes sense, right? At hatsup. we couldn’t agree more.
How does food impact your mental health
Our brains cover only 2% of our total body weight and are about as big as an average cauliflower. But despite being relatively small, a human brain consumes 10 times more energy than most other organs. It is therefore all the more important to provide our brains with sufficient energy sources. As such, research shows that certain foods are so-called 'brain boosters' as they stimulate mental activity and are essential for a healthy brain. For instance, this Yale University study found that Omega-3s are linked to a decrease of depressive symptoms. Some examples of Omega-3 rich foods are wild salmon, walnuts, and avocados. Moreover, in the Hungry Brain, Dr. Pawlak cites that DHA (i.e. docosahexaenoic acid) deficiency is associated with a decreased number of receptors for serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine—all very important good-mood neurotransmitters.
The list below shows a general overview on which foods help in keeping your brain healthy and which types of food you’d better limit.
Important food for a healthy brain
- Berries - not juiced
- Fresh vegetables - leafy greens in particular
- Nuts - high in calories, so limit to a moderate amount
- Fish and seafood
Also include for a healthy brain
- Beans and other legumes
- Fruits - in addition to the previously mentioned berries
- Low fat dairy, such as yogurt
Try to limit for a healthy brain
- Fried food
- Processed foods
- Red meat
- Red meat products
- Whole fat dairy, such as cheese and butter
Now we roughly know what types of food keep our brains healthy, we are ready to make some delicious dishes out of it! We’ll be sharing monthly food for happiness recipes with you, so subscribe and stay tuned!
Also interesting for you to read:
- 6 tips for your mental health this summer
- Smiles sharing smiles a story about mental health and happiness