1. Different foods can affect your brain and your mental health, including mood, stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. There are many factors which contribute to your mental health and wellbeing, however your diet is a factor which you can control.
3. Try adding green tea, dark chocolate, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet to improve your mental health and to alleviate symptoms of depression.
Do you feel different when you eat different types of foods? I certainly do. I’ve noticed that I’m clear-headed after eating lean protein and vegetables, and I definitely notice that my thinking is cloudy and that I struggle mentally when I eat baked goods from my local coffee shop (something I no longer do).
The research is now backing up my experiences, clearly showing that what we eat can significantly affect the brain and mental health, for better or for worse. More specifically, changing your diet can have a dramatic effect on mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Many factors contribute to depression and anxiety, and several of them are uncontrollable, including life stressors, genes, and your environment. But your diet is an import- ant factor that, for the most part, can be controlled and that can have a significant impact on your mental health without some of the side effects that come with traditional pharmaceutical treatments. Green tea, dark chocolate, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids have all been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression. Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
Green Tea: Many of the compounds in green tea have antioxidant effects, and it is likely that this contributes to the antidepressant effects of the tea. It has also been shown that some of the compounds in green tea affect the connection between the brain and the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (the HPA axis), the body's stress-control system. This interaction may help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Chocolate: Another tasty food that has been studied for depression symptom relief is chocolate. Cocoa polyphenols have shown to have positive effects on mood in humans. More studies on this are needed, but so far, the acute effects of cocoa on mood are promising. Keep in mind that when researchers suggest that chocolate may be beneficial, they mean dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, not milk chocolate.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have a significant impact on neuroinflammation and brain health. They also influence the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which can impact your ability to concentrate, and affect feelings and behaviours. Low intakes and levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with the onset of depression. So consider eating more cold-water wild fatty fish, ground flaxseeds, and avocados to give yourself the best chance of having good mental health.
B Vitamins: Studies show that lower levels of B vitamins are associated with an increased risk of developing depression. Folate and B12 are particularly important in the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine, a compound that appears to play an important role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. B vitamins may be essential for maintaining these levels of neurotransmitters and therefore helping prevent depression-like symptoms. Lack of folate can also impair the formation of myelin, a fatty substance that surrounds nerve axons, which increases speed of signal transmission between nerves in the brain. B vitamins are present in a wide array of foods, including organic poultry, seafood, bananas, and green leafy vegetables.
Today's New Habit: Single Tasking
This week, we’re going to try single tasking. Set aside a block of time each day when you have time to completely focus and really drill down into a task that you have to accomplish – writing a report, analyzing some data, preparing a speech, or whatever is the highest priority on your list.
During that time, turn off your phone or put it on silent and disconnect from the Internet. Be completely focused on that one task with no distractions. Build this into your schedule and add it to your calendar so you can defend this critical time for your highest priorities.
The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist you with improving your performance, as well as your general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release The Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.