What Food Is Good For Mental Wellbeing?

A huge range of foods is said to be beneficial and good for mental wellbeing, but what if your mental health is poor? The last thing you want to eat is a carrot stick and a healthy Nicoise salad. In fact, you either do not want to eat, or you are craving comfort food.

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I’ve compiled a list of foods that should be putting into our bodies when we have mental health issues, and I promise it is not all boring and bland. It would be best if you entice your taste buds.

I follow this food list when I’m running low on energy, and it boosts my energy enough to cope with the day. I have difficulty eating raw food such as salads so that you won’t see any of that. But you can still eat it; I recommend lettuce or passion fruit if you are having trouble sleeping, so have it as a side salad or dessert.

Nutrients You Need

good for mental wellbeing

Before the list, let me tell you what you need in your system to help you. It looks a lot, but you can get it nearly all from the foods I’ve listed below.

Or you can choose a few supplements. If you really are not interested in eating bigger meals for a few days, because you feel too ill.

  • B3, Niacin, helps with mental confusion
  • B5, Pantothenic Acid, helps with low energy
  • B7, Biotin, helps fight depression and fatigue
  • B8, Inositol, helps against anxiety, depression and fatigue
  • B9, Folic Acid, helps with brain function
  • Vitamin D3 helps with depression, anxiety and stress disorders
  • Omega 3 helps fight depression and schizophrenia
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) can help with concentration and alleviate fatigue
  • Lysine helps fight anxiety
  • Phenylalanine helps with alertness, schizophrenia and chronic fatigue
  • Taurine helps fight depression and anxiety
  • Glutamine helps anxiety, depression and ADHD
  • Magnesium helps anxiety and depression
  • Iron helps fight fatigue

I don’t expect you to get each vitamin and mineral, the list of food below will cover everything, and I’ve kept it to the basics, which most people can afford.

You don’t have to source from specialist food shops; you can get it all in your local supermarket.

Good For Mental Wellbeing List

I have compiled the list to show the foods I eat when I am feeling really rough. I don’t provide a recipe as I’m not a chef, but who wants to be all cheffy if depressed? I know I don’t.

FoodWhy?
EggsBecause they contain the best in amino acids, and two of these lovely ovals contain all your B12 you need for the day. Eat anyway you like. Preferably with a runny yolk, yum.
Coconut MilkA great alternative for vegans, 244g contains folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and so much more. It is also good if you have iron-deficiency anaemia.
MilkIf you are not lactose intolerant, then milk will be helpful to you. It contains vitamin D and protein; it helps with the nervous system, plus a warm milky drink before bedtime can aid sleep.
ApplesFor an energy kick, you can’t get much better than the good old apple. They contain omega 3 and 6 to enhance brain function. An apple a day, as they say, keeps the doctor away. Ignore apple juice, though.
ApricotsOnce again, like apples, they contain B6 and they also contain vitamin E; they keep the bowels healthy which is where serotonin also lives.
AvocadoThey can be a bit expensive in the UK, but if you can afford them, they are good for enhanced brain function and digestive health. They also contain omega 3 and 6.
BananasGood mood food, the humble banana is a powerhouse when it comes to helping the brain function; it is also good for your mood and a good nights sleep.
DatesEver wondered why banana and dates do well together? Well, they both improve mood. The date can help to stabilise your mood, very good for people like me with bipolar.
Red GrapesBetter than the green grapes, these little spherical bundles are good for the memory with their nutrients of vitamin C and K, plus omega 3 and 6. Eat the grape rather than drink it.
Kiwi FruitContaining omega 3 and 8 fatty acids and vitamins A, C, E and K, they are near enough a superfood. They also enhance brain function.
Passion FruitThe little passion fruit can help you get a good night’s sleep but take it earlier in the day and not directly before bedtime. They have a compound in them used as a remedy for insomnia and anxiety.
OatsYou can’t get better than a bowl of oats for breakfast or toasted as sprinkles. They contain plenty of good stuff, too much to mention here; no wonder they are renowned the world over.
French BeansI love french beans, and they are packed with good stuff, from folic acid to phosphorous. They are also good at helping you to release energy when you need it.
Red MeatAll red meat contains taurine or vitamin b12; you only need a small serving a couple of times a week to get your requirements; if you are a vegan, you will source it from supplements.
MushroomsPlacing a mushroom in the sun absorbs vitamin D, which goes towards your needs if you cook them up in an omelette. Portobello mushrooms have B6 in them too.
Sunflower SeedsThey contain Panthothenic acid and Phosphorous plus Vitamin B6 and are super tasty with pesto and pasta.
Chicken & TurkeyA great source of protein and best off grilled or roasted rather than fried. It contains Phospeherous, Selenium and Vitamin B6 and Niacin.
SeafoodFrom fish to shrimp, you can’t go wrong with eating seafood, it is a great all-rounder for brain health and should be eaten twice per week
Dark Chocolate over 70%I don’t really need to say why we should eat chocolate, but it contains iron, magnesium, protein, potassium and much more, making you feel good.

This is not a strict menu; it is a selection of foods you should try and incorporate into your day. Most of it can be put in a sandwich or chopped up and added to porridge. Or placed in a casserole, no special cooking skills needed.

The most expensive things here are avocado and meat, and if you are a vegan, then I suggest an all-round vitamin.

You can make your own menus up if the mood takes you based on the vitamins and minerals, but even if you are not hungry, an egg sandwich and an apple for afters or a couple of chunks of chocolate will get you through until you’re well enough to cook more.

Most of the time, I live on sandwiches, as you can fill them with everything, and it is the easiest thing for me to make when I’m feeling lethargic, or depression is creeping up on me.

Peace & Blessings x

[AF] P.S Try Remrise Hot Chocolate for Sleep

im not a doctor

Lou Farrell

Welcome to the mental health blog of Lou Farrell. I am a writer and copywriter who pens all manner of articles relating to mental wellness and mental illness. I write about my own experiences and the knowledge I have gained over the years as someone who has bipolar disorder. I hope you enjoy the website :-)

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1 Response

  1. Richie says:

    Hi Lou. A very informative read, thank you. Lots to add to the next shopping list! My wife is very keen on the benefits of chocolate … I rather have an egg sandwich!

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