1. Dark, Leafy Greens
Vegetables are not just great for your physical well-being, but they boost your mental wellness too. Go for dark leafy varieties like spinach, kale, Swiss chard and beet greens as they are the most nutrient-dense. They are loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals, plus phytochemicals to keep you mentally alert and sharp.
Try our Creamy Spinach Ravioli With Almonds recipe
The creamy fruit is known as a superfruit for good reason – not only are they packed with nutritious goodness but avocados are comprised mostly of monounsaturated fats, the same healthy kind found in extra virgin olive oil, which help support the production of the memory and learning brain chemical acetylcholine.
Try our Tuna, Wasabi and Soy Poke Bowl recipe
3. Chia Seeds
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to affect mental and emotional health when levels are low, chia seeds are really easy to use in various recipes. You can use them as toppings for salads and soups, or in your baking. A quick way is to blend them into smoothies for a healthy drink.
Try our Tofu And Chia Stir-fry recipe
Not only are eggs really yummy and versatile, but they are actually a very important diet staple when it comes to maintaining mental acuity and focus (it’s why you see it commonly being included into breakfast dishes) – choline in egg helps to maintain memory and communication signals, while lutein, vitamins D and B complex, zinc and omega-3 are all essential nutrients for brain functioning.
Try our Baked Eggs With Bacon And Tomato recipe
It’s called a “happy fruit” for good reason – and not just because of its cheery yellow appearance and “smiling” shape – bananas contain high levels of tryptophan that convert to serotonin; it’s the hormone responsible for making you feel good. Tests have shown that bananas keep your energy up and keep your mood upbeat. They are even known to have the power to help overcome depression.
Try our Banana And Bread Pudding recipe
Most nuts are packed with nutrients and healthy “good” fats – both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – and are also lower in bad cholesterol. But walnuts are especially great for boosting better brain functions, including faster processing speed, more mental flexibility and better memory. This is thanks to the polyunsaturated fat, polyphenols and vitamin E found in walnuts, which have been shown to help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain.
Try our Spelt Pasta With Broccolini And Walnuts recipe
The wonder spice adds a fantastic favour to your dishes and is also a super ingredient with anti-inflammatory and anti-axiety properties. The compound in turmeric responsible for its mental health benefits is curcumin – it has been scientifically proven to help treat psychiatric disorders and improve symptoms of depression.
Try our Spiced Prawns With Turmeric recipe
Berries are high in antioxidants and have shown great benefits in helping to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of mental decline by protecting brain cells from damage. All kinds of berries are good, so load up on strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries. They are easy to snack on, or just add them into your bakes (see our recipe below).
Try our Raspberry Ripple Cake recipe
The probiotics in yoghurt is found in studies to reverse symptoms of depression and anxierty, and help improve mental wellness. In a research by the University of Virginia School of Medicine, they found that feeding lactobacillus, the live bacteria found in yoghurt, to mice with “depressive-like behaviour” or “despair behaviour” help to reverse their symptoms.
Try our Grilled Fruit Salad With Coconut Yoghurt recipe
10. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is known to elevate moods as it stimulates the production of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that create feelings of pleasure. Also, thanks to its content of serotonin, an anti-depressant that can enhance and brighten your mood, plus favonols to boost positive feelings, it’s no wonder snacking on a bar of chocolate can lift you out of the blues. Rule: Be sure to go for dark chocolates always!
Try our Chocolate Wheatens recipe