Nourishing your brain: Understanding mental health and the importance of nourishing your brain
18th May 2020 / Health
Nourishing your brain: Understanding mental health and the importance of nourishing your brain
This week we’re honouring Mental Health Awareness week and the Mental Health Foundation’s theme of kindness. Now more than ever, as we find ourselves in unchartered waters, does focussing on the power of kindness seem that little bit closer to home. We share in their belief that small acts of both kindness and courage make the world of difference when it comes to confronting daily challenges, however big or small they may be. As they so nicely put it, “kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health, and protecting our mental health is going to be key to us, coping with and recovering from the pandemic that we face”. As author Jennifer Dukes Lee, so heart-warmingly said, ‘in a world where you can be anything, be kind’.
To celebrate this week, we want to bring you a wealth of information about arguably the body’s most unique organ, the brain. We’ll be giving you top tips on the best ways to nourish to help you flourish, giving you the tools to support your mental health. You can expect brain boosting recipes, our top nutrients to support brain health PLUS how you can use our unique Food Based supplements to support your mental health and boost your brain power!
What is Mental Health and why is it so important?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and it's important to remember that mental health is tangible - it can change as you move through different stages and circumstances of your life.
Our mental health is something that we should all be aware of and check in with regularly. It’s important to prioritise our mental health and make sure we know how we’re feeling and our commitments; whether that be in our work or personal life. Being kind to others is so important, it makes the world go round, but it is also invaluable to always remember to be kind to yourself. A survey by The Mental Foundation found that 63% of UK adults agreed that when other people are kind, it has a positive impact on their mental health; and the same proportion of people also agreed that being kind to others has a positive impact on their mental health, showing the true power kindness has to offer.
A word on Stress & Anxiety
Throughout our Stress Campaign we focussed on managing stress levels and spoke of positive ways to manage anxiety - however that might impact you. Managing stress and anxiety levels is a great way to positively influence your mental health. Throughout our campaign we gave you a wealth of information on stress; including what ‘stress’ actually is plus some strategies to manage it, advice from experts including Chloe Brotheridge, Libby Limon and Laura Lucas. We touched upon our stress-busting supplements in our Stress & Anxiety range and gave you some of super simple stress-busting recipes. But now, we want to focus more specifically on being kind to your mind, how simple changes can influence your mental health and nourish your brain to help you feel good and boost your brain power!
Being kind to your mind
Being kind to your mind is so important. Giving yourself the tools to allow your brain to flourish is essential. As with our overall health, there isn't one size fits all approach that will help us all, nor one supplement that we can turn to. Rather, it’s about taking a holistic approach. Firstly, before making any adjustments it’s important to reflect; take a moment to evaluate your current situation, give yourself some time to think, breath deeply and catch up with yourself. So often we do things at 100 miles per hour, adding constantly to our to-do list, forgetting the real importance.
Being kind to your mind, is just as it sounds; equipping yourself with the right nutrients, supplements or breathing techniques to allow you to thrive! Learning how to be kind to yourself is a great way to start! Throughout the week, we’re going to bring you our favourite nutrients to support your brain health, recipes to boost your brain power plus the latest evidence on how our much-loved mushrooms and herbs can help nourish the brain! But first, let’s get to grips with the brain...
The Brain and Mental Health
The human brain is an organ of much intrigue - it’s a complex, diverse structure that scientists are still learning and discovering more and more about all the time. Weighing on average 3 pounds, the brain is a spongy mass of fat and protein and contains billions of tiny cells called neurons, which are responsible for transmitting information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells within the body. Controlling everything from our heart rate, body temperature, mood and feelings - our brain makes up who we are.
When it comes to our mental health, more research is emerging all the time about the link between our brain and our mental health. Scientists believe that mental illnesses result from problems with the communication between neurons in the brain, a process called neurotransmission. An example of this is the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin has been found to be lower in individuals who have depression - suggesting a chemical imbalance within the brain.
Supporting the Brain and our Mental Health
The good news is there are a number of ways that we can support both our brain and our mental health. There is an abundance of research that highlights the adverse effects that deficiencies of specific nutrients can have on our mental health. In particular, B12, B9 and zinc, with low levels being associated with symptoms of depression and dementia including low mood, fatigue, cognitive decline, and irritability. Research has also shown that eating a well balanced diet can be associated positively with feelings of wellness. This was shown in a 2014 study, which found high levels of wellbeing were reported by individuals that ate an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
We also know that specific dietary patterns such as highly processed foods, or the "western dietary pattern" are strongly correlated with an increased risk of developing depression, mild cognitive impairment, and ADHD.
Supplements to nourish the brain
Alongside brain-boosting nutrients, which you’ll hear more about later this week, there are some supplements that we always call upon to help boost our brain and in turn support our mental wellbeing. Throughout the week we’re going to talk about them all individually, but we just want to highlight and introduce our favourites across our range now!
Our targeted complex contains the essential brain-boosting vitamins, minerals, herbs and mushrooms that support all-round brain health. Our unique formula supports and prioritises brain health with a blend of brain-boosting vitamins and minerals alongside lion's mane mushroom known to support cognitive function and bacopa monnieri a natural adaptogen.
Vitamin D Complex
Required for neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth, research suggests that vitamin D may function as a modulator in brain development and as a neuroprotectant. Vitamin D is also a strong anti-inflammatory, so helps to reduce inflammation in all areas of the body.
Curcumin is one of two new products in our range. Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in your brain. Like vitamin D, curcumin also has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
Fish oils are vital for normal brain function and development. They have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and prevent cell deterioration. Studies have also shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help to boost cognition and preserve memory function.
Last chance to shop with 20% off
Throughout the week we’ll be drip-feeding you more interesting content about this fascinating organ, more on our brain-boosting supplement heroes PLUS the best nutrients and foods to enhance both your mood and brain health. Don’t forget there’s still time to download our Stress & Anxiety download where you can get 20% off our Stress & Relaxation range, plus for a limited time only we’ve included 20% off our Brain Food as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. You can download it here.
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