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Foods for Mental Health & the Brain

Ever wondered about the state of mental health wellness in Singapore? There is no denying that mental health conditions are not uncommon. However, with the stigma around mental health issues, people oftentimes sweep their troubles and worries under the rug. This has become increasingly common as thousands suffer from burnout due to the pandemic. Although the number of mental disorder cases in Singapore has been increasing over the past few years, the pandemic has drastically changed the way we work and play. People are working longer hours and noticing signs of burnout such as physical and mental exhaustion more prevalently.

The Link Between Mental Health and Your Diet

Many of us are aware that our physical health is influenced by nutrition. But, if we were to take the saying “you are what you eat” beyond surface level, we’d see that everything about our body is impacted by our diet – including our psychological states. This is not to say that consuming nutritious foods will solve all psychological issues. Instead, it acknowledges that vitamins and other nutrients in the foods we eat can boost mental clarity, improve our moods and maintain optimal brain health.

Superfoods that are Good for the Brain

 There are several ways to eat your way to well-being, and one of the top ways is to include superfoods into your diet. Generally good for your brain, these foods can be incorporated into your diet daily for optimal results. Of the thousands of superfoods available in the organic food stores, we cover six of them that can be easily added to any meal of the day.

1. Organic Quinoa Seeds

Organic quinoa seeds are a healthy complex carbohydrate. When this highly nutritious food is combined with tryptophan-rich foods like cottage cheese, eggs, nuts, and seeds, the level of the happy chemical – serotonin – in your brain is boosted. Organic quinoa seeds also contain another vital brain food – flavonoids. The brain-protecting property of flavonoids keeps your brain healthy and improves memory.

2. Organic Acai Berry Powder

Popular amongst people trying to lose weight, acai berry powder is a superfood that helps with stress, anxiety, and depression. Beyond containing soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, D, and K, it also stimulates the nervous system by increasing the release of feel-good hormones in our brains. This, in turn, reduces mood swings and aids with mental clarity. Rich in antioxidants, acai berry powder repairs oxidative damage and combats free radicals known to cause brain damage.

3. Organic Chia Seeds

Overnight Almond Chia Pudding by Nature’s Superfoods

Research shows that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body can trigger mental and emotional disorders. Organic chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which increase brain functioning capabilities and improve the symptoms of depression. The omega-3 fatty acids in black chia seeds improve the production of the neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

4. Organic Cacao Powder & Organic Dark Chocolates

Raw Cacao Chocolate Pie

Organic cacao powder is another superfood that is high in flavonoids and other health-promoting antioxidants. It also contains tryptophan that is associated with emotional well-being, and anandamide, a bliss molecule that promotes a pleasant feeling. The magnesium in organic cacao powder helps relieve stress by suppressing the stress hormone called cortisol. Since sugary foods can negatively impact the brain and moods, using organic dark chocolates or cacao powder can reduce cravings for unhealthy foods. Organic dark chocolates are also healthy for your brain when consumed in moderation as it lowers the risk of depression due to their flavanols.

5. Camu Camu Powder

Organic Camu Camu berry powder has impressive antioxidants capacities and other potent compounds like flavonoids. It also protects your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Mix in a tablespoon of this superfood powder into your breakfast smoothie for the added benefit of improved blood sugar levels and regulated blood pressure.

6. Vegan Protein Powder

Cacao Plant Protein Powder Bowl

Dairy protein found in standard protein shakes and powders are very high in Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA).Although BCAA plays an important role in muscles, they also prevent tryptophan from entering the brain. Since tryptophan is converted to serotonin, consuming too much BCAA will lower serotonin levels in the body and affect mood regulation. If you really require protein powders to supplement your workouts, opt for vegan protein powders, like Nature’s Superfoods’ organic plant-based protein powder with matcha, that have lower BCAA levels.

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