Food for good mental health

Food for good mental health

As we have learned in our mind food series what we eat can not only affect the way we feel physically, it can greatly impact the way we feel and function mentally.

Eating a poor diet, rich in processed food and stimulants, can cause our bodies to swing in blood sugar and hunger, which can create imbalance for both body and mind. Certain additives can create physical discomfort and also cause feelings akin to many anxiety symptoms.

Equally the lack of vital nutrients in our diet can be responsible for exacerbating the symptoms of some pre-existing mental health conditions. 

To give our physical and mental health the best fuel we should make sure we are getting the nutrients we need.

We here have put together what we believe to be the most comprehensive list available of nutrients for good mental health, what conditions and symptoms the can help relieve, and which foods they are found in.

Any radical change in diet/lifestyle should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

List of condition/symptoms - nutrients your diet might lack – food sources of those nutrients

To download this list as a PDF file please click here - Nutrients table.

Depression

Vitamin C

  • Strawberries, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, cranberries, satsumas, grapefruit, cherries, blackberries, mango.
  • Broccoli, celery, red cabbage, red peppers, watercress, tomato, pumpkin, artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, leeks, potatoes, radishes, spinach, courgettes.

Vitamin B3/B6

  • Brown rice, oats, barley.
  • Beef liver and kidneys, chicken, turkey, pork loin.
  • Tuna, salmon, trout.
  • Chick peas, sunflower seeds.
  • Watercress, cabbage, peppers, potatoes, squash, courgettes, mushrooms, broccoli.
  • Bananas (low quantities of B6)

Magnesium

  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley, wheat bran.
  • Walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, almonds.
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Strawberries, blackberries, orange, raisins, bananas.
  • Broccoli, sprouts, peppers, watercress, spinach.

Tryptophan (essential amino acid)

  • Almonds, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts.
  • Milk, cheddar, Swiss cheese.
  • Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Turkey, chicken.
  • Soya beans, kidney beans.
  • Bananas, figs, dates.

Zinc

  • Mozzarella, cheddar.
  • Kidney beans, chick peas, lentils.
  • Chicken legs and thighs, turkey, lamb, pork, minced beef.
  • Spinach, broccoli, asparagus.
  • Kiwi, blackberries.
  • Walnuts, almonds, cashews.

Omega 3

  • Walnuts.
  • Salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, trout, shrimps.

Selenium

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Shrimps, cod, halibut, salmon, tuna.
  • Mozzarella.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Spinach, mushrooms, garlic.

Folic acid

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Lentils, chick peas, kidney beans.
  • Spinach, lettuce, asparagus, sprouts, parsley, broccoli, green beans.
  • Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts.
  • Tuna, salmon, cod.

Lack of concentration

Vitamin B1

  • Fresh pasta, brown rice, oats, barley.
  • Hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecan nuts, brazils.
  • Asparagus, aubergines, spinach, watercress, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers.
  • Mussels, tuna, salmon.
  • Pork loin.

Lack of memory

Vitamin B5

  • Wholemeal bread, granary bread, brown rice, oatmeal.
  • Raspberries, strawberries, lemons, watermelon.
  • Broccoli, carrots, peas, sweet potato, celery, cauliflower.
  • Broad beans, chick peas.

Vitamin B6

  • Barley, oats, brown rice.
  • Trout, salmon, tuna.
  • Pork loin, turkey, chicken.
  • Chick peas.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Cabbage, peppers, asparagus, potatoes, watercress.

Omega 3

  • Walnuts.
  • Salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, trout, shrimps.

Vitamin B12

  • Chicken, turkey, calves liver, lamb.
  • Clams, trout, salmon, oysters, crabs, sea bass.
  • Milk, boiled eggs.

Lack of appetite

Zinc

  • Mozzarella, Swiss cheese, cheddar.
  • Spinach, asparagus, broccoli, squash.
  • Kiwi fruit, blackberries.
  • Almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts.
  • Shrimps, mussels, oysters.
  • Chicken legs, turkey legs, pork loin, lamb.

Lack of focus and motivation

Tyrosine (Non-essential amino acid)

  • Stilton, cheddar, Swiss cheese, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, sour cream.
  • Spinach, avocadoes.
  • Bananas, plums, raisins, prunes.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Soy sauce.
  • Marmite (yeast extract).

Zinc

  • Mozzarella, cheddar.
  • Kidney beans, chick peas, lentils.
  • Chicken legs and thighs, turkey, lamb, pork, minced beef.
  • Spinach, broccoli, asparagus.
  • Kiwi, blackberries.
  • Walnuts, almonds, cashews.

Insomnia

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Stress

Vitamin B3/B6

  • Brown rice, oats, barley.
  • Beef liver and kidneys, chicken, turkey, pork loin.
  • Tuna, salmon, trout.
  • Chick peas, sunflower seeds.
  • Watercress, cabbage, peppers, potatoes, squash, courgettes, mushrooms, broccoli.
  • Bananas (low quantities of B6)

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Anger and irritability

Vitamin B6

  • Barley, oats, brown rice.
  • Trout, salmon, tuna.
  • Pork loin, turkey, chicken.
  • Chick peas.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Cabbage, peppers, asparagus, potatoes, watercress.

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Selenium

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Shrimps, cod, halibut, salmon, tuna.
  • Mozzarella.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Spinach, mushrooms, garlic.

Anxiety

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Folic acid

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Lentils, chick peas, kidney beans.
  • Spinach, lettuce, asparagus, sprouts, parsley, broccoli, green beans.
  • Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts.
  • Tuna, salmon, cod.

This information is intended as a guide only. If you are experiencing any mental health problem you should seek expert medical advice immediately. Please be also aware that some foods might cause allergic reactions.

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