Health

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Why It’s Important to Nourish Your Brain for Optimum Mental Health

When it comes to our mental health, brain function is at the forefront. But it’s not always easy to pinpoint what optimizes our brain health for good mental health. Our brain is responsible for decision-making, emotions, memory, and cognition. It’s the epicenter of everything we do. 

 

When we provide our brains with the right nutrients and care, we can reap amazing benefits. Let’s explore them!

Nourishing Your Brain Health

Before diving into the importance of prioritizing your brain health, it’s worth mentioning a few things you can do to enhance your mental health. Often times we will see that they are physical choices. 

 

Necessary Nutrients

The supplement industry is well known and a big market. But it is often associated with working out and repairing our muscles. Taking supplements for our brain health is equally as important if we aren’t getting enough nutrients out of our diets. 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most important. While they can be found in fatty fish like Salmon, they also can be taken in the form of a supplement. Vitamin D and antioxidants are also on the list of important nutrients and supplements to consume for cognitive function. 

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Paired with taking healthy supplements is maintaining a good diet. Since supplements are not the preferred absorption method for our bodies, it’s important to have a healthy and balanced diet. Some research has suggested that intermittent fasting can lead to positive brain function, as many have reported clearer thinking. 

Get The Right Amount of Exercise

Getting the right amount of exercise directly impacts our physical health and, therefore, our mental health. In fact, exercising is known to be positive for our brain health because of the endorphins that are released during exercise. 

Stimulation

Consistent brain stimulation and working your brain muscles are equally important as exercising your muscles. Games like sudoku, crossword, and even just intellectual conversations are the perfect way to do this. 

Benefits Of Taking Care of Our Mental Health

There are plenty of reasons to optimize our mental health. Feeling the best version of ourselves is ultimately the reason, but it can be broken down into multiple categories. 

Cognitive Function

Our brain is always working, which is why it needs to be supplied with the right nutrients to store energy and function. We mentioned how omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role. Vitamin B, antioxidants, and other nutrients can help support our cognitive function. Furthermore, they assist with our memory and our ability to concentrate. 

 

In today’s day and age, with so many distractions, it’s more important now than ever to prioritize this. Through a balanced diet rich in these nutrients, we can learn and process information much easier. 

Mood Regulation

Since the pandemic, it has not been a secret that many people have struggled with their mental health. A large part of that has to do with regulating our emotional state and mood. Let’s take a look at serotonin. This is a neurotransmitter that is heavily associated with good feelings and happiness. It is directly influenced by the intake of tryptophan.

 

Tryptophan can be found in a variety of foods. When you nourish your body through the right diet, you also play a heavy role in regulating your mood. Many feel that our happiness is often out of our control. But a healthy diet helps provide a positive mood and stable attitude. 

Neuroplasticity 

Our brain is incredibly adaptable. In fact, it continued to adapt and change throughout our entire lives. This is known as neuroplasticity. When you are able to promote the healthy lifestyle solutions mentioned above, you support your brain’s neuroplasticity. It also helps with stress management and being able to get quality sleep.  

 

Enhancing your neuroplasticity means forming new neural connections while strengthening ones that already exist. This helps you adapt to challenges and embrace change. This plays a direct role in your cognitive skills, resilience, and overall well-being. 

Brain Health During Aging

Keeping our brains healthy as we age is vital to combat and stave off degenerative diseases. The two more common diseases are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Focusing on a diet that is rich in healthy fats, Vitamins E and C, as well as antioxidants plays a huge role. 

 

It’s also imperative to manage your stress levels and inflammation in the body. Overloading yourself can cause damage to your brain cells. But brain stimulation through social engagement can help combat this and increase brain longevity.  

Stress Reduction

Having chronic stress has detrimental effects on your brain and, therefore, your mental health. When our bodies are stressed, they release hormones that can impair our cognitive function, mood regulation, and memory. 

 

When we take care of our brain, it mitigates the impact stress can have on our bodies. The right nutrients can minimize stress response. Taking it a step further, it can promote healthy relaxation. 

 

Stress reduction doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as hugging a pillow while sleeping. You may be thinking, what? But it has links to childhood and comfort. Another approach that is popular is journaling to find our purpose. 

Mental and Physical Are Interlinked

When we take care of our physical self, we also take care of our mental self. The same can be said in the opposite fashion because they are interlinked. By incorporating positive health behaviors like the right diet and exercise, you can significantly impact your brain health. 

 

These implementations can stave off degenerative brain diseases and age-related health issues. This holistic approach is a lifestyle and can be incorporated little by little.