What we consume daily can have a significant implication on how our brain functions and what mental illnesses we may acquire.

An unhealthy diet may increase your risk for psychiatric and neurologic conditions such as depression and dementia.

Healthy diets may be protective.

Here are five dietary items to keep your brain on the right track:

  • Fish oil is loaded with DHA and EPA two polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 fatty acids) that can decrease psychosis and depression.
  • Berries have polyphenols which reduce the oxidative stress of free radicals in the bloodstream and slow cognitive decline.
  • Alcohol, always in moderation (one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men), can improve your cholesterol decreasing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Coffee has anti-oxidant properties and may increase insulin sensitivity improving blood sugar and has been found to reduce your risk for stroke and improve depression.
  • Chocolate (the darker the better) because of plant polyphenols called flavanols, has anti-oxidant properties and has been shown to reduce heart attacks and stroke and possibly improve mood in the short term.

The bottom line is a diet that is Mediterranean, based on high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fats, or what is termed a “whole diet” which is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high quality meats and fish, can help make you less likely to develop depression or anxiety and reduce your risk of dementia, heart disease and stroke.