I had an amazing long weekend. I spent time cooking food for people and really felt connected to others. This is good for our health! I thought I would post some notes I made from a book that I read a number of years ago. It is super relevant today as we are all getting older and we want to preserve our brain function. These are notes I made from the Memory Rescue Diet by Dr. Daniel Amen, MD. Enjoy!
Foods to choose when it comes to supporting mental health…starting with spices to support your mental health. Include saffron, turmeric, peppermint and cinnamon (for attention problems and blood sugar regulation). Spices can be used raw and dried. Spices are full of antioxidants to help protect your brain from free radicals and oxidative stress. Choose organic for the dirty dozen for foods. Try to buy spices that are organic if you can afford it. Choose organic for the dirty dozen foods. The Environmental Working Group publishes a list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Green List every year (foods that are safer to eat if they are non-organic). Pay attention to this list every year and get familiar with it!
For support of dopamine the major motivation hormone (helps with focus and motivation) eat dopamine rich foods such as turmeric, theanine from green tea, lentils, wild fish, lamb, chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, free range pastured eggs, nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame especially), broccoli, spinach, protein powders from hemp and pumpkin or pea protein.
Serotonin rich foods to support mood and sleep, modulate pain and cravings. Include eggs, turkey, wild seafood, chickpeas, raw nuts and seeds, sweet potato, quinoa, dark chocolate that is dairy free if possible.
Include GABA rich foods if you suffer from anxiety such as broccoli, almonds, walnuts, lentils, bananas, organic beef liver, brown rice, wild halibut, gluten free whole oats, oranges, rice bran, spinach. I also love L-theanine for anxiety. You can get l-theanine in matcha which is green tea powder. I love drinking a matcha tea latte in the am with non-dairy milk for that reason. I tolerate green tea powder much better than coffee. Genetics typically determines how well you tolerate caffeine.
Include choline rich foods to support your memory. Choline rich foods include shrimp, eggs, scallops, sardines, chicken, turkey, cod, grass fed beef, collard greens, brussels sprouts.
Eat 8 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables to improve mood. THe more fiber you include in your diet the better your health in general.
Maca is an herb that can help reduce depression. It is a key herb to use in menopausal women. It also works to counteract stress as it is an adaptogenic herb. It is also been called Peruvian Ginseng.
Include antioxidant rich food such as acai fruit, parsley, cocoa powder, raspberries, walnuts, blueberries, artichokes, cranberries, kidney beans, blackberries, pomegranates, chocolate, olives or olive oil. hemp seeds, dandelion greens, green tea.
Include magnesium rich foods such as dark leafy greens, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, sesame seeds, beet greens, summer squash, quinoa, black beans, cashews. Magnesium rich foods are especially beneficial if you suffer from constipation, hypertension, or anxiety.
Include Zinc rich foods especiallly if you have suffered from eating disorders in your past. Zinc can be a common mineral deficiency as you get older. Foods rich in Zinc include oysters, beef, lamb, spinach, Shitake mushrooms, Cremini mushrooms, asparagus, sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Include foods rich in B6, B12 and folate such as leafy greens, bok choy, cabbage, bell peppers, cauliflower, lentils, asparagus, chickpeas, Swiss chard, sesame seeds, beet greens, summer squash, quinoa, black beans, cashews.
By paying more attention to the foods that you bring into your body you can influence your mental health for the better!
Resources: The Memory Rescue Diet. Daniel Amen, MD.