How Food Affects Our Mental Health | ENDEVR Documentary

Food fuels both body and mind. We eat nutritious foods so that our bodies can grow, repair, and function well. Our brain needs nutritious foods too. In fact, it’s quite hungry – the brain accounts for around 20% of our total daily energy requirements.
When we choose nutritious foods, we’re providing our body (and brain) with the building blocks needed to be at our best. From vitamins and minerals to healthy fats and fibre, all nutrients play a role in brain health and function.
Following a healthy pattern of eating is linked with better stress managementimproved sleep quality, increased concentration, and better mental wellbeing in general. Just as our food choices affect our physical and mental wellbeing, the opposite is also true – we’re more likely to follow a healthy diet when we’re in a good headspace.Fruit and vegetables provide us with fibre to support a healthy gut environment. Fibre is a favourite food of the beneficial bacteria in our gut that play a range of roles in supporting our overall health. Fruit and vegetables also give us a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support brain health. We should aim for two serves of fruit and five serves of veg a day.
Wholegrains are another important source of fibre to feed our good gut bacteria, plus healthy fats for brain function, and ‘slow’ carbohydrates for a steady source of brain fuel.
The protein in lean meats, fish and eggs provide building blocks of many brain chemicals that can influence our mood. Fish, especially oily fish, along with nuts, seeds and legumes are also a good source of those healthy fats and vitamins that support positive mental health and are known to protect against dementia and depression.
Dairy foods like yoghurt contain living beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) that can boost our gut health, which influences our mood and mental wellbeing.
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, prevents dehydration – a common cause of headaches, tiredness, and ‘brain fog’ that can affect our ability to concentrate. However, avoid quenching your thirst with drinks that are high in sugar, such as soft drinks.Chocolate, sugary drinks, and other discretionary foods might give us an immediate energy hit but it doesn’t last long. What goes up must come down, and you may find you feel worse in the long run. Instead, reach for foods from the five food groups – they’re a steady source of energy, which means you’ll avoid the highs and lows that come with high-kilojoule but nutrient-poor discretionary foods.