Our mental health needs to be taken care of as much as our physical, but can often be neglected, supposedly in favour of productivity and achievement. In fact, nourishing and sustaining all round health is what keeps us on top form and being able to run at our best.
Pav Bryan, award-winning cyclist, coach and trainer knows first-hand how important this is, suffering for silence for years with bi-polar disorder. In 2011 he realised something had to change and worked hard to turn his life around through nutrition, exercise, relaxation and the support of those around him. Now he is speaking up and sharing his story with advice on which foods can help to sustain good mental health
- Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel provide the brain with healthy fats. Particularly the much talked about omega-3 fatty acids, which might build brain cell membranes, reduce brain inflammation, and promote new brain cell formation, crucial for positive brain health.
- Whole grains (gluten free) such as oats, wild rice, beans and soy provide your brain with a clean source of its preferred fuel, carbohydrates. Simply put, adequate fueling will prevent your brain from getting just as tired as your body does when improperly fueled.
- Chicken fed on flax seeds (another great source of omega-3) which, much like fatty fish mentioned above, might improve your mood and memory and give you protection against brain disorders ranging from depression to dementia.
- Other lean meats such as fish, turkey and eggs provide your body with protein which in turn helps your brain produce enough neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is one of the main chemicals which regulates our mood.
- Your brain is made up of around 60% fat, hence the reason fat being mentioned repeatedly in this article! Other seeds such as chia, also provide healthy omega-3.
- Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli contain a protein called Lutein, which may support cognitive functionand brain health.
- Berries will reduce inflammation, which is a major cause in the development of depression, dementia and other brain disorders.
- Bone broth might help heal your gut which in turn helps provide more nutrients to your brain. Treating conditions, such as leaky gut syndrome, which cause your gut to not absorb, or even incorrectly manage, certain nutrients. This might allow more nutrients into your body from the foods you eat, in turn having a more positive effect on mental health.
- Avocados might help with blood sugar regulation, which will regulate mood. They are also said to promote better blood flow to your brain, which will mean a higher functioning brain.
- Water might be the only drink that will help through ensuring you don’t become dehydrated. With adequate hydration you can expect better brain memory and function, increase in energy and shift to a more positive mood.
Pav will be attempting to break the World Record for the fastest ride of Bicycle Route 66 next year – 2500 miles in a little over ten days. All money raised will go to mental health charity Inner Cycle. To follow his progresses follow Pav on Twitter, Facebook or go to his website.