Eating for Mental Health Posted on November 16, 2015, updated on March 2, 2022 by Gateway Counseling Eating for Mental Health You know what they say – you are what you eat. But did you know that there are certain foods that not only benefit your body but your mind as well. Eating for mental health is just as important as eating to stay in shape. Benefits range from improved mental clarity to a more cheerful outlook, heightened focus and better sleep. Here’s what to eat to kick that mental grog and improve your mental health in the most delicious way. Drink more water Start by drinking more water. Water helps all our body’s systems function more effectively including the mind. In a study testing mental performance, participants were asked to drink three cups of water before performing a mental test. Results indicated that those who drank water performed at a higher level than those who didn’t. Research suggests this may be because of a freeing of attentional resources that become preoccupied when left thirsty. Healthy Fats Healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fat found in avocados, are big promoters in brain health. Monounsaturated fats are responsible for maintaining healthy blood flow which in turn directly correlates to mental function. As you age, cognitive abilities slowly decline thanks to hypertension, but can be countered by blood pressure lowering foods such as avocados. Take Vitamin B12 B12 is one of the most vital, if not the most vital, vitamin for healthy brain function. Studies have shown vitamin B12 deficiencies lead to everything from depression, paranoia, anxiety, brain shrinkage, low cognitive test scores and other harmful mental issues. B12 is easily consumed in red meats, eggs, dairy products and poultry. For all those vegans out there, B12 vitamins are easily found at your local drugstore or supermarket. Omega 3 Fatty Acids When eating for mental health, Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential part of the equation. Omega 3’s keep the brain functioning properly and found abundantly in wild salmon, other oily fish, and walnuts. Lavender Aside from smelling divine, lavender can play a leading role in your daily mental health routine. Studies show that the essential oils found in lavender create a soothing effect on the mind to help improve sleep quality and fight insomnia. Try drinking a cup of lavender tea before bed or sprinkle a little bit of lavender on your pillow to breath in its benefits.