Everyone has stress – from work, family, relationship… Some attempt to relieve their stress through drinking, smoking or eating junks. However, they may end up with worsen health conditions due to side effects from alcohol, nicotine, sugar and bad fats! Recent scientific research suggests good nutrition is important for our mental health. Here are some healthy tips for you!
Eat Regular Meals
Your brain needs fuel to function properly, just like your car does! Make sure you eat breakfast every morning and eat your meals at regular times to keep your fuel supply going. Enjoy a fruit or a handful of unsalted nuts in between meals when you feel hungry.
Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrates
Replace your refined carbohydrates such as white bread and jasmine rice with unrefined ones including wholegrain bread or cereals, brown rice, peas, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Unrefined carbohydrates are generally lower in Glycemic Index (GI), which means they are ingested slowly and help to stabilize the rate of glucose supply to our brain.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are well-known for their heart protecting properties. They are also believed to be protective against depression. The UK Food Standards Agency recommends everyone to eat two portions of fish per week (including one oily such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines); equivalent to 450mg EPA+DHA per day.
If you don’t eat fish, you may want to take omega 3 supplements. Choose one from fish body oils rather than fish liver oil because levels of heavy metals and vitamin A are found to be high in livers of deep sea fish. Omega 3 fatty acids have blood thinning effect and prolonged ingestion of more than 3g EPA+DHA per day may increase the risk of bleeding.
If you are vegetarian, you may try vegetable oils (e.g. soybean, linseed and rapeseed oils) and nuts and seeds (e.g. walnuts, pumpkin and flax seeds). Just simply add these to your salads or dishes after cooking. You may also try omega 3 fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, soy milk or eggs.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that aids the production of serotonin, a ‘happy hormone’ found in the brain. Basically tryptophan can be found in protein foods including meat, fish, eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans and cheese; so make sure you eat a moderate amount of protein at every meal. Bon appétit!