12 Diet Tips for Optimal Mental Health and a Superhuman Brain
You cannot become Superhuman without optimizing your brain and mental health. With lifestyle, it is possible to enhance brain performance, improve mental sharpness, and decrease cognitive decline. Below, you will find a few diet and lifestyle guidelines that you can incorporate, in order to change your brain functioning, and help you perform at an optimal mental state at all times, even in your later years. If you have a history of cognitive decline or mental health issues in your family, you want to pay special attention.
If your brain is functioning efficiently, you will also use your time more wisely. You will be performing better and spend less time procrastinating. You become able to flow through the challenges of life with ease. One option that can help improve brain performance is taking Nootropics, also known as smart drugs. They consist of chemical compounds that enhance brain function. Even though they can be a great addition to your brain optimization approach, you do not have to rely on pills to get a brain boost. Here are a few other brain hacks you can follow:
Get Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is involved in the activation and deactivation of certain enzymes in the brain that stimulate nerve growth and aid in the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers in your brain. It can also reduce brain inflammation and protect neurons (Welland. 2009). Between 15 – 30 minutes of sunlight a day should be enough to get your recommended daily amount, as the body produces vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation. Foods that contain vitamin D include eggs, mushrooms, liver, and fatty fish. You can supplement with vitamin D3 as well.
Eat Vitamin B12 Rich Foods
They help maintain the balance of the neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, thereby improving your mood (Valizadeh & Valizadeh. 2011). Animal products, such as eggs, red meat, and poultry are excellent sources. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, adding a supplement is recommended.
Eat a High Fat Diet
Diets high in fat benefit the brain in a variety of ways. Higher blood levels of monounsaturated fats (found in olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds) has been linked to higher general intelligence. (Zamroziewicz et al. 2017) Healthy fats increase blood flow to the brain, improving overall functioning. They also help preserve the lipid layers of cells and neurons.
A ketogenic diet (low-carb, high fat) can also be beneficial for brain health for a variety of reasons. When the body does not have access to glucose for energy, it starts converting fat into ketones. One of the ketone bodies, known as Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) can help protect neurons from dying and improve memory.
Two of the greatest benefits of intermittent fasting are improved mental clarity and an increase in energy-producing mitochondria. Fasting also releases ketones (such as Beta-Hydroxybutyrate) after a period of time, and therefore has many of the brain-boosting benefits of a Ketogenic diet.
Eat Enough Protein
Having adequate levels of protein in the body help prevent dopamine levels from dropping, thereby aiding in the prevention of mental fatigue and brain fog. Protein also provides essential amino acids, which are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Eat Healthy Carbs
Even though most of the body can run on ketones alone, there are parts of the brain that do require glucose, which carbohydrates are converted into. Choose healthy carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI), such as sweet potatoes, vegetables, low sugar fruits, and legumes, as they digest slower, and do not cause blood sugar spikes in the same way as processed carbohydrates do. If you do want to follow a ketogenic diet, I recommend ensuring that you still eat enough vegetables daily.
Choline is one of the top brain-boosting micronutrients, and is related to the B-vitamin family. What makes choline beneficial is that it aids DNA building and proper connections between nerves. Choline is also needed to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can improve memory and learning (Hasselmo. 2006). You can find it in liver, beef, salmon, eggs, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
Tyrosine is an amino acid, which is used in the production of norepinephrine and dopamine. Some studies show that it can improve working memory performance during stress (Thomas et al. 1999). It can be found in supplements or foods, such as chicken, cheese, yoghurt, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, milk, avocados, turkey, fish, and cottage cheese.
Go for Coffee
Caffeine can help prevent cognitive decline, as well as improve mental performance in particular tasks. It can even cancel out the effects of mental fatigue. Three cups a day should give you these benefits. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine or have anxiety, it is recommended that you skip the caffeine.
Inflammation is one of the primary indicators of cognitive ability, and has even been linked to mental concerns, such as depression. Inflammation does this by lowering levels of serotonin and dopamine. (Dr. Rhonda. 2017)
Go for Cruciferous Vegetables
Eat foods rich in the phytochemical, sulforaphane, as it has been shown to help enhance memory (Patrick. 2017). These foods include cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli sprouts. In fact, broccoli sprouts have the highest concentration of this phytochemical. It is recommended that you pair these foods with mustard seeds or powder, as it contains myrosinase, which makes the sulforaphane more bioavailable.
Drink Tea and Eat Chocolate
Flavanols are plant compounds that increase blood flow to the brain where stem cells are produced and help maintain memory. These can be found in cacoa and teas. (Brickman et al. 2014)
Optimal brain health and mental health can be contributed to over time through following a healthy diet, moving your body regularly, and following a healthy lifestyle that promotes mental health.
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