Every one of the 50 known essential nutrients (with possibly the exception of vitamin D), plays some role in promoting mental health. Your brain uses about 20% of all your energy comsumption....where does your braind get it's nourishment? From your diet. When you eat unhealthy, you think poorly period.
Here are some of the most potent brain nutrients:
1. B-vitamins: There are 8 B vitmins and they affect how we think and feel. Because they are water soluble, they easily pass through our bodies so we need regular, frequent intake throughout the day. Deficiency can effect concentration (thiamine), anxiety and depression (folic acid) or memory (B-12). The best sources are whole grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy veggies.
2. Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of the brain. Fats mae-up a large portion of our brain and they ensure the proper (fluid) signaling communication between cells and nerves. The best sources of omega-3 comes from fish, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds.
3. Zinc: Zinc is the most commonly deficient mineral and some would say is the most crucial for mental health. Zinc deficiency is implicated in a wide range of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, anorexia, hyperactivity. Low zinc levels effect motivation and concentration too. Zinc is found in oysters, nuts and seeds.
4. Magnesium and Calcium: Calcium and magnesium help relax nerve and muscle cells. While a lack of magnesium can cause muscle cramps, it can also make you more irritable, nervous and aggressive. It also has been shown to help you sleep. Magnesium is found in green leafy veggies and nuts.
5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to balance neurotransmitters in the brain. A number of studies have shown that people diagnosed with mental illness have a greater need for vitamin C. In one study, some participants only started excreting vitamin C when they consumed almost 10 times the RDA. It shows how unique we all are - some people demand 10 times more vitamin C than others. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits.