Top 10 Foods For Mental Health

Below are the top 10 foods for mental health that you need to add to your diet if you suffer from depression, stress, or anxiety. Everyone at some point in life will suffer from some form of mental health issue. Study shows that over 1 billion people worldwide, both male and females suffer from either depression, bipolar or anxiety disorders.

Even though daily life routine, lifestyle events, or bad memories can are causes for mental health issues, the foods you eat can be blamed as well. Processed foods, drinks, processed meats, candies, pastries, fried foods, and high-fat dairy products are foods you want to stay away from if you suffer from mental health problems.

Top 10 Foods For Mental Health

Below are the top ten foods you need to start eating to reduce your symptoms and improve your mental health. If you suffer from depression, stress, or anxiety, consuming the following foods regularly will increase your focus, energy, and mood drastically.

foods for mental health

1. Fruits

Fruits are very rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating fruits daily can help improve your digestive health, reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, and cancer. Eating a diet rich in fruits can provide your body with antioxidants and vitamin C which helps strengthen the immune system and reduce stress hormones (cortisol) levels.

Some of the best fiber and vitamin C rich fruits to add to your diet are:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Peaches
  • Prunes
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Grapefruits
  • Lychee
  • Grapes

foods for mental health

2. Vegetables

Eating a vegetable-rich diet can help decrease your calorie intake, provide your body with vegetal protein, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and vitamin A. Consuming vitamin-rich foods daily can strengthen your immune system, ward off illness, improve your physical health and most importantly, reduce depression & stress.

The best vegetables to add to your diet and improve your mental health are as follow:

  • kale
  • Spinach
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Eggplants
  • Avocado
  • Green peas
  • Ginger
  • Asparagus
  • Red cabbage
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Collard greens
  • Kohlrabi

foods for mental health

3. Fish

Eating fish at least 2 times per week will provide your body with essential minerals and vitamins such as vitamin D, B2, calcium, iron, protein, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and iodine. Another good reason to eat fish regularly is that it will increase your omega 3 fatty acids intake. Eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids can help decrease your stress, depression, boost your mood, reduce anxiety, and increase your memory.

Some of the best oily omega 3 rich fish to add to your diet for optimal mental health are the following:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Sardine
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Cod
  • Tuna

foods for mental health

4. Legumes

Legumes are great for brain health because they are rich in B vitamins, low in fat, and packed with plant proteins. Adding legumes to your diet at least 3 times per week will enrich your body with vitamins and minerals such as iron, folate, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. Foods rich in B vitamins are known to promote a healthy and strong nervous system.

foods for mental health

5. Nuts

Nuts, especially walnuts are great fro brain health because they are high in omega 3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. Adding 10 pieces of assorted nuts or walnuts to your diet at least 3 times per week can help improve your brain function. Make sure you eat unsalted roasted nuts to prevent high sodium intake.

Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids helps keep the nervous system strong, improves focus, reduces stress and symptoms of depression in people with mental health problems.

foods for mental health

6. Beans

Probably one of the best naturally sources of fiber, beans are also rich in antioxidants, B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids. Eating beans 3 times per week can help increase your iron levels and provide your body with enough plant protein. A single 100 grams of cooked beans contain over 20 grams of plant protein.

Foods rich in B vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids are great for improving memory and brain function but that’s not all! They  keep you feeling full longer and help you burn energy faster. Eating beans regularly will help keep your blood sugar levels in check thus improving your mood and mental health. Beans with significantly more omega 3 fatty acids that are great for brain health are kidney beans and pinto beans.

foods for mental health

7. Fortified Cereals

Fortified cereals are a great source of B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12. These little bad guys are also rich in vitamin A, D and fiber. Eating vitamin B rich foods can help reduce depression symptoms dramatically because studies show that people with low vitamin B6 levels usually suffer from some form of mental health problem.

Whole Grain Cereals are great for increasing energy levels to the brain but not only that, cereals have been shown to improve memory as well in Alzheimer’s patients. Make sure you get organic fortified cereals instead of the normal ones to prevent consuming more calories.

foods for mental health

8. Whole Grains

Studies show that people who eat whole grains instead of other high carbs grains tend to live longer and stay healthy. This is because whole grains are rich in antioxidants and are packed with nutrients like protein, fiber, B vitamins, copper, zinc, and magnesium. A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer, and promote healthy brain function.

foods for mental health

9. Lean meat

Lean meat is low in calories and saturated fats. Adding lean meat to your diet at least 3 times per week will provide your body with the right vitamins and minerals to help strengthen your immune system. Lean meat is rich in protein, iron, and B12. B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 are known to promote a healthy nervous system.

Having a strong nervous system is vital when trying to get rid of stress, depression & anxiety.

foods for mental health

10. Unsaturated fats

When replaced with saturated fats, unsaturated fats can help lower high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease, obesity, and overall health. Unsaturated fats are very high in omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, both of which are great for brain health. High cholesterol is one of the main causes of stress therefore lowering your cholesterol levels naturally can also help reduce stress and depression.

Olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil are all unsaturated fats that you can add to your foods, salads, and sauces.

What Foods Are Bad For Mental Health

Below are most of the foods you need to cut from your diet if you suffer from mental health issues. Removing these foods will help improve your mood, brain function, and overall brain health.

  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Candies
  • Pastries
  • Processed meats
  • Fried foods
  • Fast foods
  • Sugary drinks
  • White flour
  • Sugar

The Link Between Foods And Mental Health

Although physical health and poor living conditions contribute to your mental health, the foods you eat play a bigger role. This study shows that people who consumed more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, beans, and cereals had less anxiety and depression symptoms than those who ate high carbohydrate foods.

The study also showed that poor nutrition or not eating the right foods can increase the risk of poor health and obesity by 55% while people who were obese had a 58% increase in depression and other mental health problems. Eating the right foods can improve your overall health, energy, mood, and provide your body with enough nutrients to fight mental health problems.


Now you know about the top 10 foods for mental health and which foods you need to remove from your diet to keep your mind at ease. If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and also take a moment to follow me on Pinterest for more awesome tips. Until next time, please stay awesome and safe.

top 10 foods for mental health