Eating a balanced diet is not only good for our physical health and wellbeing. It also supports our mental health. The foods we eat not only can have an effect on our mood, but also the functionality of our brains. Eating sugary foods may give us a nice boost of energy, but the come down can leave us feeling low and deflated.
What we eat isn’t going to get rid of symptoms of ADHD, but it can be a powerful intervention to improve our mental health. Here are some examples of how your diet can affect symptoms of ADHD.
Good Brain Foods
Let’s first look at some foods that help with improving your memory and focus.
Our bodies are made up of 60% water. The water that we are using and passing needs to be replenished throughout the day to maintain our physical wellbeing. However, water also gives our brains the power it needs to function. Drinking enough water will allow our brains to perform at an optimal level, giving us a boost in memory, clarity and creativity.
Studies into brain functionality show that blueberries are great for boosting concentration and memory. The antioxidants in blueberries help to stimulate the oxygen and blood flow to your brain.
Green tea contains two ingredients which are known for increasing focus. These are caffeine and l’theanine. On their own they are good for increasing alertness and focus, however, the combination balances them out, leaving you with increased focus over a longer period of time.
Leafy green vegetables
These are another source of foods that are full of antioxidants. Not only will they help boost your brain functionality, they contain folic acid, which helps improve mental clarity, as well as being full of B Vitamins that help with things like memory and focus.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 is known as an excellent source for brain and nerve cell functionality. It can help aid memory, mental performance, and behavioural functionality. Omega-3 can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, kippers and pilchards.
Nuts and seeds contain antioxidants and vitamin E. The antioxidants can help with brain focus and the vitamin E can help with cognitive functionality of the brain. Meaning the aging process on your brain slows.
Dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine which increases mental alertness. However, it also contains magnesium which can help with stress and anxiety by stimulating endorphins and serotonin. But as with everything, it’s important to consume in moderation.
These are high in magnesium, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, as well as fibre. They are an incredible source for gaining mental clarity and increasing focus. Try some sprinkled in yoghurt, over cereal, in oatmeal or mixed in a salad.
Things to avoid!
Not only will they have a bad effect on your physical wellbeing, drinking sugary drinks on a regular basis can cause inflammation of the brain, leading to a reduction in memory functionality and learning difficulties.
These types of carbs cause a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels. Research has shown there are links between foods that are high in refined carbs and a reduction in brain functionality. They can also have a negative impact on your mood causing things like fatigue and depression.
Another one that is okay in moderation is alcohol. Excessive long-term consumption of alcohol can lead to severe damage to the brain. It can affect memory, cause disturbance in eyesight, as well as confusion and unsteadiness. Coming out of the drinking state can also lead to a low mood and depression.
Although small amounts of caffeine can have a positive effect on increasing focus and alertness, consuming in larger, more frequent quantities can cause problems such as:
- Upset stomach
Fish high in mercury
Mercury can be known as a neurological poison. Consuming high amounts of mercury can cause toxicity to the body, leading to disruption in the central nervous system and damage to the neurotransmitters. Most fish contain low amounts of mercury. High-mercury fish can be eaten but consumption should be limited. These include shark, swordfish, tuna, king mackerel, tilefish and orange roughy.
What we eat can have a significant impact on the health of our brain. Eating a healthy, but well balanced diet is so important to help improve brain functionality.
If you are looking for other ways to help improve the functionality of your brain, why not get in touch. My sessions are designed to work with you to get your brain working with you and not against you. To find out more, contact me here or book in now for an assessment consultation.