How To Eat Well For Brain Health

 

Mental illness affects one in four of us each year. To mark World Mental Health Day our Plenish nutrition expert Jenna Hope has drawn up this guide to boost your mental health.

Understanding the role of nutrition and lifestyle when it comes to mental health is important so I have put together some of my top tips here.

1.Antioxidants: These play a huge role in brain function and the removal of free radicals in the body. We are exposed to pollutants, chemicals and radiation so frequently that free radicals and other toxicity is inevitable. These build up in the brain causing oxidative stress and consequently a series of chemical imbalances. Ensuring that you have enough antioxidants in your diet can prevent and repair oxidative stress. Antioxidants are present in the forms of Vitamin A, C and E. Fruit and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants so make sure you start hitting those 10-a-day targets if you can. To start the calming process click here to buy Plenish Calm filled with high levels of Vitamin C to relieve fatigue.

2.Omega-3: Is crucial for neurological development and reducing or preventing inflammation in the brain which is often present in individuals with mental health disorders. Omega-3 prevents imbalances between neurotransmitters in the brain – the building blocks of your moods – by regulating signals between cells. The best form of omega-3 is oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), but for vegetarians or vegans, fear not, nuts and seeds are also a great source of omega-3.

3. B-Vitamins: B6, B9 (folate) and B12 are important in neurotransmitter methylation (where neurotransmitters are added to DNA) and allow for the balance of neurotransmitters. Low levels of B-Vitamins can also cause increased homocysteine (an amino acid) in the brain which is associated with mental health disorders. B6 is found in beef, starchy vegetables and fish. Dark leafy greens are the best source of B9 and B12 is mainly found in meats, fish and eggs.

4. Exercise: It is understood that exercise enhances brain derived neurotrophic factor (an important protein which influences brain function) which regulates neurotransmitters, enables stability and reduces stress. Exercise release endorphines which increase mood and make you feel good. Exercise allows you to have a break from reality and focus on nothing else which is really helpful if you suffer with mental illness. It is recommended that you exercise for 30 minutes a day 4-5 times a week. It’s great to mix up vigorous exercise with resistance exercise such as pilates and yoga.

5.Water: This may seem really simple but ensuring that the body is hydrated properly enables it to function correctly. When we are dehydrated the the body cannot carry out its every day functions as easily and therefore causes stress and imbalances.


Click here to buy the Plenish Water + range to hydrate your body and mind.

Jenna has a Nutrition BSc (hons) and a masters in Nutrition. Visit her blog where she discusses all things nutrition, health, wellness, food and exercise!

Instagram – @jennahopenutrition and Twitter – @primalhopeuk.

 

References

*Mental health statistics: UK and worldwide; 2016 Jun 7 [cited 2016 Sep 20]. Available from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-uk-and-worldwide.
Parletta, N., Milte, C. M., & Meyer, B. J. (2013). Nutritional modulation of cognitive function and mental health. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry,24(5), 725-743.

Grosso, G., Galvano, F., Marventano, S., Malaguarnera, M., Bucolo, C., Drago, F., & Caraci, F. (2014). Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: scientific evidence and biological mechanisms. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2014.

Herbison, C. E., Hickling, S., Allen, K. L., O’Sullivan, T. A., Robinson, M., Bremner, A. P., … & Oddy, W. H. (2012). Low intake of B-vitamins is associated with poor adolescent mental health and behaviour. Preventive medicine, 55(6), 634-638.

Stanton, R., Rosenbaum, S., Kalucy, M., Reaburn, P., & Happell, B. (2015). A call to action: exercise as treatment for patients with mental illness.Australian journal of primary health, 21(2), 120-125.