Buleberries in a bowl

Healthy Food for a Healthy Mind

Blog content provided from the legendary team at Northern Inland Academy of Sport

Healthy Food for a Healthy Mind

It is well known that eating healthy has many benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing. But do you know why? Or what foods can affect different aspects of our mood and mental wellbeing? There’s a chemical in the body that has been known to contribute positively to cognitive health. This chemical is called serotonin and can be found in various places throughout the body, including the brain.

Serotonin or lack of affects your body in many ways – we’re talking everything, from your emotions all the way to how you pick up and hold things – your motor skills, to helping how you sleep or not, and how you digest your food.

Ensuring you have enough serotonin in your diet can; reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds and maintain good bone health.

So, let’s explore a few foods that can help contribute to happier moods and more positive thinking;

Seeds

Seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds can help the body produce higher levels of serotonin and also provide good sources of dietary fibre. Different types of seeds can also provide varying health benefits and nutrients. For example, flaxseeds and chia seeds provide a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and sesame seeds have anti-inflammatory properties.

Wholegrains

Consuming wholegrains has been known to reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease and contributes to a healthy digestive system.

Great sources of wholegrains include;

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Millet
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Whole-wheat crackers

Brown Nut Lot wholegrains

Salmon

Salmon also has a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which helps with brain and cardiovascular health. These fatty acids have also been known to reduce the risk of certain illnesses and diseases such as heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids need to be acquired through the dietary intake as the human body cannot produce it.

salmon on a chopping board

Blueberries

Amongst many vitamins and nutrients, blueberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber and have high antioxidant levels. Being rich in nutrients means that blueberries provide multiple health benefits including positive impacts on cognitive health and assisting with memory performance

These foods are not only great for helping your body to produce serotonin, but they also provide multiple health benefits.  Overall, keeping a well-balanced diet is important as different foods provide different nutrients for the body and each of them has a role to play.

Individuals need to ensure they are receiving an adequate amount of nutrients from an array of sources especially during phases of growth. Keep following this blog to learn about the importance of balanced diets and how this impacts their physical and mental wellbeing. Its something the budding athletes at the Northern Inland Academy of Sport don’t take for granted!


To learn more about fitness and wellbeing visit the Wellness Hub.

If you need a little more inspiration why not check out the athletes from NIAS and what they’ve been up to here!