Having a relaxed and peaceful mind is as important as maintaining a healthy and fit body. Recent researches in health and nutrition state that there are certain foods which help to enhance the mental health of a person. It is deemed that food and nutrition play a highly significant role in maintaining a relaxed state of mind.
Our emotional instincts and sentiments are controlled by around 60 neurotransmitters found in the brain. Serotonin, endorphins, noradrenaline and acetylecholine are some of the neurotransmitters which play a major role in determining the size of the brain, number of cells and also balancing the emotions. Neurotransmitters would be produced only when certain amino acids, vitamins and proteins reach the brain through blood in required proportions.
Serotonin triggers happiness and the person would be in joyous mood. People with less neurotransmitter activities in the brain would be restless, stressful, and mentally unstable or finds it difficult to snap out of stinky mood. Therefore it is essential to include enough proteins and nutrients in the daily diet which are required for the efficient functioning of the brain.
As per the research conducted at the renowned London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and John Hopkins University, the amount of food consumed plays a major role in influencing the mood of a person. In an experiment conducted at the research facilities, the pups of the same parent rats were fed different kinds of food. The group of baby rats, which were constantly fed sweet food items, began to display neurotic behaviour and tried to violently attack each other or break out of the cages, when the scientists stopped giving such food to them. The researchers found out that the brains of these rat pups were producing a chemical called opioid in huge amount. The rats had displayed a behaviour similar to that of a cocaine addict during withdrawal.
The human brain should constantly be nourished with glucose. The glucose which is produced when the glycogen gets broken down is not sufficient to maintain the health of the brain. Besides grain, the breakfast should include protein rich legumes or pulses and a glass of milk. The neurotransmitters would be produced in brain if sufficient amount of food containing folic acid, vitamins B1, B6, B12 and C is consumed. Zinc helps to be calm and even induce good amount of sleep which is essential to stay healthy. Lack of potassium may lead to anxiety, stress, weak muscles and irritation. Whole grains like wheat, matta rice, millet, big bananas and leafy vegetables are rich sources of potassium. Deficiency of magnesium causes depression, emotional breakdowns, shivering and high blood pressure. Walnuts, cashews and oats are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and helps in the production of serotonin in the brain. Including bran, which is an amazing source of thiamine, in your diet may assure a healthy brain.
Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, is found abundantly in food like whole grains, eggs, soybean and yeast. These food items are also sources of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Lack of these neurotransmitters may result in depression and other mental imbalances. Soups loaded with fresh vegetables and greens are a super food for brain.
Here are some recipes for food which helps to enhance the mental health
1. Boiled water with tulsi leaves
A bunch of tulsi leaves
Wash the tulsi leaves and add into boiling water. Drinking this water regularly would influence your mood. Besides the ayurvedic properties of tulsi is an added benefit.
2. Ginger ale
1 piece ginger
Juice of half lemon
1 tbsp sugar
1 glass water
Crush the ginger, and take its juice
Add the lemon juice, sugar and water as required.
3. Vegetable - greens soup
1/2 cup palak (spinach)
1/4 cup shallots
1 tsp salt
In a pressure cooker, add chopped vegetables, palak, and shallots
Add salt and water as required
Mash everything together before serving.
4. Banana – milk sweety
1 large banana
1 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp powdered cardamoms
Slice the banana thinly
Add milk, sugar, and cardamom powder
5. Almond milk
2 tbsp almonds
1 glass milk
1 tbsp sugar
Grind the almonds into a fine powder
Add milk and sugar
Almonds contain melatonin which regulates sleep.
6. Mixed fruit juice
Juice of half lemon
1 bunch mint leaves
1 tsp sugar
2 cups water
Chop the fruits into small pieces
In a blender or juicer, add the fruits and lemon juice
Pass it through a sieve
Add finely chopped mint leaves into it
Add sugar and water as required
This juice which is a store house of anti oxidants is excellent for the efficient functioning of the brain.