We all eat. And for many of us, diet is something we pay a lot of attention to when trying to improve our health and general wellbeing. The pursuit of a balanced and sustainable diet is an essential endeavour, as it not only affects the condition of your body, it also has a huge impact on the condition of your mind.
Many of these super foods are now quite familiar to us. Even though some of them have been adopted by the proverbial ‘hipster’ and might come across as a bit of a fad, there is no denying that they are fantastic additions to the diets of the mental, and physical, health nuts among us!
Beans are a good place to start. They are a double whammy; excellent for both body and mind. They are high in protein, fibre and iron, and low in fat and carbohydrate. They are a great alternative to processed carbohydrates such as bread and pasta; providing you with an abundance of slow release energy without the bloating and weight gain that sometimes comes with grain-based products. Beans also help to lower cholesterol; improving blood flow and therefore improving brain function. They will make it easier to focus, to learn and to be mindful. One variety, the black bean, offers a little something extra; magnesium. This element has been proven to improve the efficiency of the mind and can even help reverse the effects of degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
The reserve of many a fitness fanatic, bananas are one of the best sources for slow-release energy. They also contain a large dose of potassium. Potassium protects the body against muscle wastage, the risk of stroke and lowers blood pressure, all good things. But, perhaps most importantly, it regulates the balance of fluids and acidity in the body and controls electrical movement in the muscles and organs – keeping the whole body running efficiently and economically.
3. Coconut Oil
One of the most fashionable foodstuffs on the market at the moment. Its applications are varied and numerous; good for, among other things, clean cooking, clean surroundings, moisturising and quietening squeaky doors! As far as the brain goes though, it can function as natural anti-inflammatory and as a tool against memory loss.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritionally rich and diverse vegetables around. They contain, among other things, iron, calcium, selenium, and Vitamins A, B and C. Although they do not directly contribute towards the health of your mind, they are dense with all the good stuff your body needs to function with energy and proficiency; strengthening the immune system in particular.
We do love tea. The good news is that it is more than just a comforting hot drink. The anti-oxidants found in tea improve mood, focus and memory; all things that are quite useful when it comes to matters of the mind. A lovely brew with your next mindfulness mediation might be just the thing to take it to the next level!
The ultimate food of fashion! Everything about this food benefits the brain in some way. Healthy blood flow is contributed to by its high levels of monounsaturated fat (that’s the ‘good fat’ everyone is talking about)! And as we know, healthy blood flow = healthy mind. Blood pressure also goes down, and protection against cognitive decline is reinforced.
7. Green Stuff
Pretty much without exception, if it is green, then it is good. Your spinach, your broccoli, your kale, apples, spring greens and grapes are all fantastic for healthy brain function. As well as the abundance of vitamins provided by the green stuff, they are also essential in the forming of new cells all over the body; essential for the growth and development of mind and body.
8. So-Called ‘Cheat Food’
Vitamin crammed, iron stuffed, and fibre rich foods are all very well, and all extremely important. However, sometimes, after a long day, all your mind is telling you to do is order a pizza. We know that pizza, or curry, or fried chicken, or whatever your culinary ‘poison’ happens to be, is full of stuff that doesn’t really benefit your health in any way. But sometimes, if what your brain is asking for is comfort, then you need not to give yourself a hard time about it. If happiness is enjoying a glorified cheese on toast some days, then do it! You can always do a few extra miles on the treadmill or eat broccoli for breakfast!
By Chris Thomson
More food for thought! Check out our recent blog on how to eat in a mindful way: Mindful Eating – A Beginners Guide
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