What Brain Healthy Food Means & Why You Should Care

What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word nutrition? Maybe you think about healthy foods and the way they affect your body. Maybe you associate nutrition with fitness and exercise. But what about your brain?

Historically, nutrition research has focused on physical health rather than mental health. However, studies continue to prove that our brains, like every other organ in our bodies, respond directly to what we consume. Although no single nutrient can cure mental illness, eating a nutritious diet rich in essential vitamins, proteins, and fatty acids is essential to keeping your brain healthy and stable.

A study in 2017 split 67 people suffering from clinical depression into two groups. One group met with a dietician and followed a balanced, nutritious diet, while the other group made no dietary changes. After 12 weeks, over a third of the group who met with the dietician were no longer classified as depressed, whereas there were no significant changes in the control group. This study is part of an emerging field of research known as nutritional psychiatry, which studies the relationship between food and mental health.

Omega-3s are one of many essential, brain-balancing nutrients. Over 60% of adults don’t consume enough omega-3s to meet basic nutritional needs. Deficiency in these crucial fatty acids is linked to depression and anxiety. Taking charge of your mental health can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It can start with small changes such as introducing essential nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, into your daily diet. Next time you find yourself at the grocery store, we encourage you to try shopping with your brain health in mind.