Emotional wellbeing and clear thinking are as vital to health as a fit, well-nourished body. Yet, according to the World Health Organisation, mental health problems are fast becoming the number one health issue for the 21st century. One in 10 people suffer from conditions such as depression at any point in time, and one in four are diagnosed with a mental health problem at some point in their life.
The statistics may be grim, but current research shows this story could have a very different ending – that the right nutrition can help vanquish much of this misery. Studies has found that optimum nutrition is also enormously effective at staving off depression, anxiety, poor concentration and all the other negative side-effects of our hectic lives.
Even if you have no mental health problems, getting the right amount and the right kind of nutrients can increase your mental energy, improve your mood and sharpen your mind.
Watch below as Patrick advises on the importance of maintaining mental health with seasoned TV personality and health and fitness guru, Stacey Holland on the Home Channel’s Real Health programme.
The starting point for tuning up your brain is to follow an optimum nutrition diet and take daily supplements. In a nutshell, this is what a brain-friendly diet looks like:
- Eat wholefoods – wholegrains, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables – and avoid refined, white and overcooked foods.
- Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Choose dark green, leafy and root vegetables such as watercress, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, green beans or peppers, raw or lightly cooked. Choose fresh fruit such as apples, pears, berries, melon or citrus fruit. Have bananas in moderation. Dilute fruit juices and only eat dried fruits infrequently and in small quantities, preferably soaked.
- Stick to wholegrains such as brown basmati rice, millet, rye and oats and wholewheat pastas, breads and cereals.
- Avoid any form of sugar, and foods with added sugar.
- Combine protein foods with carbohydrate foods by eating cereals and fruit with nuts or seeds, and ensuring you eat starchy foods (potato, bread, pasta or rice), with fish, lentils, beans or tofu.
- Eat cold-water carnivorous fish. A serving of herring, mackerel, organic or wild salmon or fresh sardines two or three times a week provides a good source of Omega-3 fats – or good vegetable protein sources, including beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu (soya) and ‘seed’ vegetables such as maize kernels. If eating animal protein, choose lean meat or preferably fish, organic whenever possible.
- Eat eggs – preferably free-range, organic and high in Omega-3s.
- Eat seeds and nuts. The best seeds are flax, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. You get more goodness out of them by grinding them first and sprinkling on cereal, soups and salads.
- Use cold-pressed seed oils. Choose an oil blend containing flaxseed oil or hemp oil for salad dressings and cold uses, such as drizzling on vegetables instead of butter.
- Minimise your intake of fried food, processed food and saturated fat from meat and dairy products.