Brain food

We all know that what we eat affects our physical health, but did you know there’s growing evidence that nutrition and mental wellbeing are also closely linked?

The brain is the largest organ in the body and, like our hearts, livers and other organs, it is affected by what we eat and drink. To put it bluntly, we are what we eat!

Research shows that people who report some level of mental health problems eat fewer healthy foods (fresh fruit and vegetables, organic foods and meals made from scratch) and more unhealthy foods (chips and crisps, chocolate, ready meals and takeaways). The opposite is true too – people who eat healthier foods are more likely to have good mental health.

So what foods give the brain the nutrients it needs for good mental health and wellbeing? Fortunately, it’s the same kind of diet you need for good physical health:

  • lots of different vegetables and fruit.
  • a wide variety of whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
  • some occasional oily fish, lean meat and dairy products.
For more information on making healthier choices about what we eat visit the Ministry of Health website.

More on the food - mental health link...

University of Canterbury clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge is leading the charge when it comes to exploring the links between nutrition and mental health.