May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we recognize how important our mental health is to our overall health. Researchers noted that consuming at least three servings of fruits and vegetables daily can be beneficial to your mental health. But what happens to the body if you consume more fruits and vegetables? When you eat the right kinds of food, your body produces more serotonin, which is a hormone that regulates mood, sleep, and appetite. Serotonin is made in the digestive system thus feeding the good bacteria in your gut can help increase the serotonin.

People who eat foods with prebiotics (good bacteria) like leafy green vegetables can contribute to reducing levels of anxiety and improve the mental outlook. Aside from fruits and vegetables, it is also crucial for people to avoid certain types of foods such as white sugar, processed food, and refined ingredients. Vegetables and fruits are good, but you can increase your mental health if you also eat unadulterated and fermented foods.

  1. Carrots– help memory and protect brain function. Oxidative stress in your brain is what leads to neural degeneration. This can lead to such diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s – two degenerative diseases that are very difficult, if not impossible to reverse. Preventing these sorts of diseases before they can negatively affect you is crucial for maintaining your mental health.
  2. Bananas– Bananas may play an indirect role in affecting mood, however, by shoring up the amount of serotonin the brain is able to make. This is because they’re a rich source of vitamin B6, which is necessary for helping the body to synthesize its own serotonin.
  3. Apples– Protect the brain and protect against memory loss.
  4. Dark leafy greens like (spinach, lettuce, kale and collard greens)- Excellent source of Vitamin E, which helps to reduce inflammation in the brain as well as preventing the build-up of plaque on brain cells – associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Also Has Vitamin-K which can slow cognitive decline as well as a healthy vascular system.
  5. Grapefruit– It may be sour but has high amounts of Folic Acid that enhances brain health. The cells in our body use this growth, maintenance and repair. (Not recommended for people who are on Anti-depressants or anxiety drugs because of interaction)
  6. Citrus fruits (Cucumbers, watermelons and tomatoes)- Can help memory, brain functioning and processing information.
  7. Fresh berries– can improve numerous cognitive skills, including memory, learning, and decision making.  Low levels of Brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) are associated with several neurological and mood disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
  8. Kiwifruit – This furry fruit contains a vitamin called folate. Folate has been known to reduce the rate of Alzheimer’s disease and brain function decline. Also, the rich potassium content of the kiwi has been linked to increased blood flow to the brain, thereby helping improve an individual’s concentration and brain activity.

Eating fruits & veggies is not new advice. Research shows, it IS good advice. Stop by GreenAcres and shop our 100% organic/local produce.

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