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7 food tips to protect your mental health

One of the most obvious, yet under-recognised factors in the development of major trends in mental health is the role of nutrition. Evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease

A healthy varied and balanced diet is important for both physical and mental health.

1. Eat regular meals- the brain needs regular supply of glucose (from carbohydrates) in order to function,

2. Fats- brain is made up of 40%fat, our cells maintain their structure with unsaturated fat found in olive or rapeseed oil which can be used in small amount for cooking. Use nuts and seeds in salads with olive or nut oil as dressings. Try to decrease Trans fats found in processed food and use fresh food to improve brain function,

3. Choose high - Fibre from wholegrain, pulses, seeds, fruit & vegetables. These are rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants for your body to function well. These food are digested slowly, controlling blood glucose to your brain and rest of the body. B vitamins, Folate and zinc are good in managing depression,

4. Protein food Tryptophan a building block of protein has been shown to play role in depression and improve your mood. Protein food can help you feel fuller and prevent overeating.

5. Oily fish- omega 3 oils in fish may help reduce depression. Try to include 2 portions per week. E.g. salmon, mackerel, pilchards, herring, sardines and trout. If you don't like fish choose fish body oil supplement containing no vitamin A which can interfere with calcium metabolism, recommended 1g/day,

6. Drink enough fluids- dehydration can affect your mood. Too much caffeine can lead to headaches, irritable /low moods. Limit intake of coffee to 2-3 cups/day and tea to 5 cups/day. Alcohol can dehydrate and lead to vitamin B deficiencies, make you anxious, depressed. Limit to 2-3 units for 5 days/week. Avoid high energy drinks e.g. cola, energy drinks can give you a blood glucose rush followed with a low mood. Recommended fluids is 6-8cups (250ml) per day. Introduce water within your fluid allowance.

7. Your weight -If you are putting on a lot of weight, it may make you feel depressed. Start by eating regular healthy meals not high in pies, chips and processed foods and limit cakes, crisps, chocolate, sugary drinks and alcohol together with increasing your exercise.

http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/diet/

www.bda.uk.com/food facts

For specialised Diet and Nutrition advice seek the advice of a Professional Dietitian and Nutritionist Tabby kabeer

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