Throughout October, there are many observances dedicated to mental health awareness, but the truth is, in today’s world, mental health is an everyday issue. While there are many ways mental health can be treated, one of the easiest (and delicious) ways is through proper nutrition. Koibito takes a look at eating tips to improve mental wellbeing.
Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and brain-imaging expert who heads up the world-renowned Amen Clinics, will be the first to admit he does not like the term “mental illness.” He believes people should be focusing on getting their brain health right and then the mind with follow. Some of his nutritional tips for a brain-promoting diet and to use food as brain medicine include the following:
Drink lots of water — “Given that your brain is about 80% water, the first rule of brain nutrition is adequate water to hydrate your brain,” he writes in an article on the Creativity at Work website. He states that even “slight dehydration” can increase stress hormones which can, over time, damage the brain. He recommends 84 ounces of water per day — preferably unpolluted with artificial sweeteners, sugar, caffeine or alcohol — as well as green tea herbal tea.
Eat Fish Loaded with DHA — DHA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids that is found in fish, makes up a large portion of the grey matter of the brain and is also found in the retina of the eye, according to Amen. The fat in the brain is key in how cells function. “Research in the last few years has revealed that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help promote a healthy emotional balance and positive mood in later years, possibly because DHA is a main component of the brain’s synapses,” he writes.
Stock up on Vitamins — Vitamins and nutrients can come from supplements, but most of them can be found in foods. Amen suggests enjoying fruits and vegetables that are full of antioxidants like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, brussels sprouts, plums, broccoli, beets, avocados, oranges, red grapes, red bell peppers, cherries and kiwis.
Focus on Balance — Rather than omitting an entire food group, Amen encourages people to find balance by enjoying a number of healthy foods from a long list of whole foods including lean proteins (lean beef and pork, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts and seeds, etc.), fats (like avocado, olives, salmon, nut butters and extra virgin cold pressed olive oil) and complex carbohydrates including fruits and vegetables as well as oats and beans.
For mental wellness and brain health, good food is the place to start! Koibito Poke was founded on the idea of providing guests with healthy, creative and well-rounded whole food meals that are delicious, never boring and, as it turns out, boasts ingredients that are good for brain health!