Food for thought: The connection between healthy eating and mental health

by Laura Forsyth | 23rd May, 2023 | Nutrition

Food is not just a source of energy and nutrients for the body, but it can have a profound impact on our mental health. What we eat affects the chemistry of our brain, and consuming the right foods can help in supporting symptoms associated with stress, anxiety, and depression. In this blog post, we will explore some of the foods that can support mental health and how they are incorporated into Lions Prep meals.

lions prep box

1. Spinach

This leafy green vegetable, is a nutritional powerhouse packed with essential nutrients like folate, vitamin C, and antioxidants. These nutrients play a crucial role in supporting normal brain health and function. Folate, for instance, helps in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which regulate mood and emotions. Additionally, spinach contains antioxidants that protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.

2. Chai seeds

Chia seeds have gained popularity for their impressive nutritional profile. These tiny seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, protein, and antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), have been linked to a reduced risk of depression and improved overall mental well-being. Fibre plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut-brain connection, as the gut microbiota influences brain function and mood. Chia seeds also provide essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc, which support brain health and cognition.

READ MORE: Five foods believed to help boost your focus

3. Beans

Black beans and chickpeas, are versatile legumes that offer numerous mental health benefits. They are rich in plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre, and essential minerals. The combination of protein and complex carbohydrates provides a steady release of energy, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels and support overall brain function. Beans also contain folate, which, as mentioned earlier, is involved in neurotransmitter production and mental well-being. Additionally, the fibre in beans nourishes the gut microbiota, which plays a vital role in mood regulation and mental health.

4. Poultry

The likes of chicken and turkey are an excellent source of high-quality protein and contain amino acids necessary for the production of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, play a crucial role in regulating mood, emotions, and mental well-being. Consuming adequate protein supports the production and function of these neurotransmitters, helping to stabilise mood and enhance cognitive function.

5. Sweet potato