First featured on Onya Magazine
Wow, we are up to Part 4 already in this series, Feed Your Brain.
There is just so much to know and learn when it comes to this fascinating organ that determines so much of our daily experience.
Personally, I cannot get enough and must say that re-working my diet, and that of my clients, to be more mindful (pardon the pun!) of the key nutrients important for a healthy brain, always results in significant and life-shifting changes.
I hope you too are feeling and noticing the benefits?…
Today’s focus is on….
Magical Minerals – there are a handful of minerals that are particularly important to the stimulation and levels of certain neurotransmitters.
Zinc and magnesium are two superstars here.
It is important to note that in times of increased stress more of these minerals are used, thus more are required.
Depression can actually indicate a need for more zinc rich foods.
Zinc helps to balance blood sugar levels, stabilise metabolic rate, strengthen the immune system as well as support an optimal sense of smell and taste.
There are no specific storage sites known for zinc and so a regular supply in the diet is required.
Oysters are one of the richest sources of zinc, with a 115g serve containing about 103mg, around ten times more than our daily recommended intake, on average.
Compare this to lamb or grass fed beef, which has about 4-6mg for the same weight, and 0.6mg per cup of broccoli.
Maybe there is a way you could learn to love oysters? I certainly learnt to acquire a taste for these zinc rippers over time.
What are good vegan sources of Zinc?
Beans, including lentils, adzuki beans, chickpeas, lima and mung beans; pumpkin, sunflower, sesame (think tahini) and flax seeds; nuts, including cashews, pecans, pine nuts, almonds and Brazil nuts; oats and seaweeds.
Personally, I love sprouted chickpeas and sprouting can improve zinc bioavailability. These are super yummy in salads and I also buy already sprouted mung beans and dried peas to add to the mix too.
A colourful, varied and plentiful plant-based diet can and will cover so many bases- if you do your research!
As far as magnesium goes, this baby has a huge diversity of roles within the body.
Since it is involved in nerve and muscular relaxation, when we are over-stimulated, stressed, or experiencing greater levels of tension or anxiety, we will be using this macro-mineral like there is no tomorrow.
That is why it is important that we supply our body with a good daily intake.
Deficiency can trigger muscle tension, soreness, spasms, cramps and fatigue.
Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and sesame), green vegies (especially green beans, spinach, swiss chard), salmon, black and pinto beans are particularly excellent sources of magnesium.
As always get inventive and creative with how you can include these foods more regularly.
Greens should be a daily affair anyway, and seeds can easily be added to salads, stir-frys, baked snacks, home-made breads and much more.
As for black and pinto beans, take up the challenge to source delicious and nutritious ideas.
Pinto beans are great in Mexican dishes with lime and chilli, and you can also add them to soups and casseroles.
Black beans are great in salads, soups, chillies, bean-burgers and of course as re-fried beans. Yummo!
Whether you are vego or not, these two essential nutrients are key players in feeding your brain right and living a more balanced and calm life every day.
Reflect over your current weekly intake and see where or how you could make some changes in order to allow for a plentiful daily supply.
Until next time, have fun with the re-modelling.
As always, I would love to hear of any ideas you come up with!
Dietitian~Counsellor~Eating Psychology Coach
Founder of The You Method
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