With all the new “Lose 20 Lbs. in 10 days” diets popping up all over, it can be daunting to remain consistent with a healthy diet, when it seems to be as simple as grabbing an apple from the fridge instead of grabbing a handful of Doritos to satisfy our need to snack. The food we put in our body is directly related to what we are feeding our mind. The more unhealthy, the worse we feel and the slower our mind processes things. We all know it is easier said than done and have all had moments when we just don’t care. However, the best way to keep our minds healthy is to keep our bodies healthy at the same time.
Mind & Body boosting nutrients…
Along with making sure we are maintaining a healthy diet for our minds, we also need to make sure that we are providing our body and minds with all the necessary vitamins and nutrients need to keep it all going…
Here are 3 KEY nutrients to keep us balanced and moving:
Folate (Folic Acid, Vitamin B9)
- Increased intake of folate is associated with a lower risk of depression.
- Folate is especially important for pregnant women, but everyone needs folic acid for production of cells. It is especially important for healthy hair, skin, nails, eyes, liver and red blood cell production.
- Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, fruits, nuts, beans and whole grains have high amounts of folate, or folic acid.
- Rates of depression are higher in people with Vitamin D deficiency compared to people who have adequate levels of vitamin D.5 Lack of Vitamin D is thought to play a role in Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is depression that commonly starts in the fall, lasts through winter and subsides in the sunnier spring and summer months.
- Vitamin D is needed to help the body absorb calcium for strong teeth and bones, and the health of muscles and the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with heart disease and increased risk of heart attacks.6
- Most foods do not naturally have Vitamin D, but many are “Vitamin D fortified.” Fatty fish like salmon and tuna have the most naturally occurring Vitamin D. Other foods like milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals have Vitamin D added.
- Our bodies also produce Vitamin D as a result of being in the sun. Five to thirty minutes of sun exposure twice a week generally produces enough Vitamin D, with lighter-skinned people requiring less time than those with darker skin.7 Time in the sun beyond the suggested amounts above requires use of sunscreen to prevent skin damage and reduce risk of skin cancer. Vitamin D supplements may be used in fall and winter months.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Some studies suggest that omega-3s may be helpful in the treatment of depression and seem to have a mood-stabilizing effect. Omega-3 essential fatty acids may also help boost the effectiveness of conventional antidepressants and help young people with ADHD.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be important in reducing inflammation, the primary cause of conditions like arthritis and asthma, and play a role in heart health by reducing triglycerides (blood fats). They may also reduce risk for certain kinds of cancer.8
- Oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, anchovies and sardines) are the most highly recommended sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and the American Heart Association suggests eating these types of fish at least twice a week. Omega-3s can also be found in walnuts, flax (or flaxseed oil), olive oil, fresh basil and dark green leafy vegetables.
Provided by: Mental Health America