Eating Omega 3s will improve your mental health
Posted by kathryn in Mental & emotional health
Omega 3s are essential for brain health.
They’re a group pf poly-unsaturated fats, found in fish and some plant foods. These fats form part of the structure of our brains, including the myelin sheath.
Low levels of Omega 3s have been linked to depression, as well as learning problems in children.
Although this is an important nutrient, we’re eating less and less of it. Most people don’t eat a lot of fish, plus our consumption of the Omega 3 containing plant foods has also declined.
How much Omega 3 do you need?
For most people it’s best to get their Omega 3s from a variety of sources. According to current guidelines, for optimum nutrition, men need at least 610mg per day and women at least 430mg per day.
Eat more fish
If you have a fear of cooking fish, now’s the time to conquer it. For most people, fish is simply the easiest and best source of Omega 3s. If you eat three to four portions of fish a week, you’ll be getting a good supply of these brain-nourishing fats.
The following fish are high in Omega 3s and a 150g serve will give you at least 500mg of Omega 3s:
- Atlantic salmon
- Oreo dory
- Tinned pink and red salmon
For more on fish and Omega 3s take a look at this page from Choice.
Eat more nuts, soybeans and green vegies
The other main source of Omega 3s are:
- nuts, especially walnuts, hazelnuts and brazil nuts
- green vegies
There are indications the Omega 3s from these foods are not as well used by our bodies as those in fish. If you’re a vegetarian, include at least one of these foods every day. You could do this by:
- sprinkling a tablespoon of LSA on your morning cereal. LSA is ground linseed, sunflower and almond meal and is available from most health food shops.
- use a mixture of nuts as a snack
- put walnuts in muffins, for example: pear, maple & walnut muffins or peach, walnut & ginger muffins.
- make a side-dish of mixed seasonal greens to go with dinner.
- have tofu salad with asparagus & bok choy
For more information see my post on vegetarian sources of Omega 3s.
To sum up
Include more Omega 3s in your diet and you won’t just be helping your mental health: these fats also reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. Diet is an important part of your total health. So, eat more Omega 3 foods to improve both your mental and physical wellbeing.
It’s Mental Health Week here at Limes & Lycopene. This post is part of a series: five food and diet strategies you can use to improve your mental health