Eating healthy to improve your mental health

When it comes to our mental health, what we eat can make a big difference to us. Research has shown that diets rich in foods like fruit, vegetables and seeds helps protect our mental health. Making healthier food choices will not only improve our mental health but also our physical fitness.

Below are 8 simple tips to help you along the way:

Plan Ahead

Why not try making some extra meals to store? You could make enough that will last you for several days, and freeze them in portions to use when you don’t feel like cooking

Don’t skip meals

You need to eat 3 balances meals a day to keep your energy levels steady. Try boosting your intake or fruit, dairy, whole-grains, nuts and seeds between meals.

Start the day the right way

Did you know breakfast breaks your brain’s overnight fast. Make sure to start your day with some porridge, wholegrain bread or cereal, dairy and fruit. These foods keep essential brain nutrients topped up!

Use to Food Pyramid

Familiarising yourself with the Food Pyramid will help you plan healthier meals. Base you main meals on wholegrain bread, brown, rice pasta or other grains. Protein helps with the production of complex chemical messengers in the brain and protein foods provide us with nutrients that are vital for our mental heath.

Get your fats right

Our brains run on glucose, but did you know it’s mostly made up of fat? Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon are the main sources of omega-3 fats.

Eat more fruit and vegetables

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Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Add dark green and orange fruit and vegetables to your shopping. Include things like beans and lentils.

Drink the right drinks

Feeling fuzzy? Well dehydration can lead to this thinking, poor memory and feeling tired. Remember that drinks containing caffeine will act as a strong stimulant. It is important that we reduce our caffeine intake- I know it’s hard to resist ”Anyone for a cuppa?”, but instead- try reach for some water, herbal tea or diluted fruit juice. We need 8- 10 cups of water a day. Why not spice it up by adding strawberries or cucumber to make it tastier!

Keep a diary

It might take you some time to get used to your new eating pattern, but make slow changes and give yourself time to adjust. Write down what you eat and make some notes about how you’re feeling in the hours or days after. Over time this will help you work out how certain meals or foods made you feel and the impact they have on your energy and mood.

Read more about the little things you can do to improve you mental health

Read more about ”Healthy Food for Life” on the Healthy Ireland website

Read more about the Irish Food Pyramid

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