If you know anything about nutrition, you know that numerous reports are floating around regarding the power of omega-3 foods. They’re well known for their abilities to reduce high triglyceride levels to help your heart health, but did you also know that they are widely used to help with mental health issues too?
Yes, omega-3s are known to ease the pangs of psychiatric conditions, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Understanding the Nutritional Importance of Eating Omega-3 Foods
There is good and bad fat that you consume in foods. The excellent variety is known as polyunsaturated. You can get this from foods that contain both DHA and EPA.
It may appear you need a science degree to understand all this, but DHA is also known as docosahexaenoic acids. You ingest this from eating fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements. Now, when you consume plants and plant oil, you will get EPA or eicosatetraenoic acids.
Additionally, these foods provide alpha-linolenic acids too, which is sometimes called ALA. It all sounds very confusing, but it’s pretty simple. These good fats help nourish every cell in your body, and you don’t need to take supplements as you can get them by altering your diet to include nutrient-rich foods.
When it comes to your mental health, many people would do or try anything to get relief. Dealing with anxiety and panic day in and day out can be overwhelming. Could the answer to gaining mental clarity and putting you in a better place mentally be as easy as adding some nuts or fish to your diet?
According to the National Library of Medicine, diet modifications can help or even reverse mental illness. For better mental health, here are the foods you should be eating.
First, salmon is a high-quality protein that fills you up without adding extra calories. It also has a long chain of omega-3 fatty acids that have vast benefits. Eating this fish once a week can help lower your blood pressure, reduce painful inflammation in your body, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Tuna is perfect for your heart as it contains omega 3 fatty acids, plus it can help lower blood pressure. When you eat this fish regularly, the high levels of zinc, manganese, and selenium can help improve your mental well-being and immunity.
Mackerel and salmon can be used interchangeably in recipes, but there is a slight taste difference. This fish has monounsaturated fatty acids in it, and these fats are known to impact blood glucose levels directly. Additionally, it will lower the visceral fat levels in your body, which helps your mind and heart.
Herring and sardines are lumped into one category because they provide remarkably similar effects on the body. These fish have exceptionally high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and the abnormally high levels are known to help in not only brain development but maintaining good health too. Since these fatty fish reduce inflammation, they can provide an immense number of enumerations to the body.
5. Wheat Germ
Eating wheat germ is always a good idea due to its nutritional value. Not only does it give you an excellent source of vegetable proteins, but it’s also a good source of healthy fats along with a nice helping of fiber. While all of this is terrific, it’s the magnesium content that has a direct effect on your brain health.
Every day your body obtains oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Eating foods like walnuts can help to fight this damage. It can also help to decrease the bad cholesterol in your body or LDL. This helps to keep atherosclerosis and other serious conditions at bay.
Since this is considered a super plant source, this omega-3 food has a higher level of fatty acids than any other nut out there. To say that its mental boosting abilities are well documented is an understatement. The National Library of Medicine states that eating these can help with cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disease.
While peanut and almonds get a lot of praise, the walnut is often overlooked for its excellent health benefits.
Spinach is one of the Omega-3 foods that should be on your list for many reasons. First, it’s loaded with nutrients and has minimal calories. Second, it’s considered a superfood because it can help with your bone health, skin, and hair.
Additionally, it packs a powerful punch of protein and critical vitamins and minerals that will increase your brain health.
Tofu is a staple on any vegan diet. You can fix it to take on the flavor of whatever you cook with it. Not only is it a great source of protein, but it’s chocked full of amino acids. It has all eight of the primary amino acids your body needs to thrive.
When it comes to your brain health, you need manganese, selenium, and phosphorous, magnesium, and zinc, all of which this plant provides.
9. Oat Germ
While you may not have heard of oat germ, it’s remarkably like oat bran. It contains many nutrients your mind needs to be in top shape. The key is that the germ has more than twice the fiber of bran and packs a powerful punch of iron. Iron is responsible for many functions in your body, and you need it to stay mentally sharp.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds don’t get nearly the praise they deserve. These tiny seeds can totally help you to repair so much in your body. For starters, they can help to regulate blood sugar levels, and their high level of magnesium is excellent for your mental health.
11. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a fantastic treat to someone who has a sweet tooth, but it’s also good for you. It’s acceptable to have up to two ounces each day but make sure it’s only the dark and not milk variety. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that can improve brain function as well as increase heart health.
A few years ago, eggs got a bad rap for having a high cholesterol level. However, the health benefits went unnoticed. Thankfully, those bad reports are being overshadowed by praise for the high protein and amazing health benefits.
While eggs do have high cholesterol, it has little impact on the arteries in your heart, according to a study conducted by Harvard Health. Eggs are full of protein and vitamins, and they’re low in calories. Their vitamin profile contains B, C, D, E, K, and more. The real benefit to eating eggs is you’ll get a heaping dose of Choline, which is known to improve your brain health.
While these are just a few of the main foods you need to incorporate into your diet, there are many others too. Try adding cheese, soybeans, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts too.
Keep These Things in Mind When Eating Omega-3 Foods
It’s generally safe to consume either omega-3 foods or supplements with these healthy fats in them. However, those who take any treatment that will thin the blood should be careful. Things like chia seeds are known to dramatically impact the blood’s thickness, which can be dangerous if you’re already on a treatment regimen to thin your blood.
If you decide to get supplements versus ingesting Omega-3s foods naturally, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t pick a supplement with toxic contaminants added to them. Things like mercury are often added and take away from the health benefits.
Another consideration is the pairings used with omega-3s foods. Many fat-soluble vitamins, like A and D, are often paired with these foods and supplements. If you get too many of these vitamins in your body, it can become toxic, which is why getting your nutrition from nature and not in a supplement form is always the best option.
Finally, while these foods are known to help with your mind, they are never and replace medical help from a trusted physician. What works for one person might not work for another, and it’s good to be under the advisement of mental health professional as you navigate the trial-and-error period with your mental health journey.
Are there any foods on the list that you already consume regularly? Perhaps you found a few that you love and need to incorporate into your meal planning. Eating healthy and for your mental well-being doesn’t have to be bland or tasteless.
There are so many foods that mother nature provides that taste amazing, but they can also nourish and heal the body. No wonder so many people are turning to a plant-based lifestyle to improve their overall health. Nature provides the best medicine for what ails you, and it comes with little to no side effects or huge co-pays either.