It is Mental Health Awareness Week so I want to share a few tips about the brain and how to keep it healthy.
The average human brain weighs around 1.3kg and consists mainly of water and fat with some protein, carbohydrates and salts.
To help keep your brain in tip top condition the easiest thing to do is make sure it has enough water to function correctly. Do this by drinking around 6-8 glasses of water every day. If you don’t like plain water try drinking it hot with a squeeze of lemon or lime or chilled with strips of cucumber infused into it. Herbal or fruit teas, either hot or cold, can also be a tasty option.
The type of fat in the brain is crucial to how well it functions. The essential fatty acids known as omega-3 and omega-6 are ones that we need to get from our diet. We tend to have plenty of omega-6 but not enough of omega-3 fats. To increase intake of omega-3 to help improve memory, cognition and recall try to incorporate these omega-3 rich foods in to your diet:
Oily fish - salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring and trout
Walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are plant-based options although they aren’t as easily used by the body and brain as the type found in fish
Keeping a steady stream of energy to the brain is really helpful to avoid mood swings. To do this avoid too much sugar or highly refined (white) carbohydrates such as bread, pasta or rice. Instead choose wholegrain versions of these, have some protein with every meal (yes, that includes breakfast) and make sure there are also plenty of veggies on the plate!
Additionally, keeping active is good for the brain as well as the body as exercise actually helps to grow more brain cells. It doesn’t have to be too strenuous but do make it regular (and fun!)