I gave a talk at an event organised by Kent Minds where I spoke about Nutrition for Mental Health and Resilience. Please click here Nutrition for Mental Health & Resilience to see my presentation. 

I shared some facts and figures on mental health conditions and how they impact  the life of a person with depression, anxiety or stress and how businesses are feeling the strain as nine million sick days are taken each year because of mental health issues.

I informed the audience that there is now solid evidence that dietary improvement may provide a treatment strategy for the management of some mental health disorders, and how we now know that foods, nutrition and nutrients can be connected to mental health, particularly depression and anxiety.

To summarise: Some of the changes we can make to support mental ill health.

Eat real food – avoid unprocessed and packaged foods. Use whole/organic foods and try to cook from scratch.

Eat colourful foods – eating a variety of colourful foods provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish your body.

Eliminate processed sugar – Unhealthy gut possibly unhealthy mind

Slow carbohydrates – not no carbohydrates!  We need smart, slow release carbs, root vegetables, sweet potatoes and brown rice. Avoid refined and processed carbs such as white bread, sugar, sweetened drinks, pastries and processed ready meals that strip away beneficial fibre.

Optimise protein – you should have protein at least three times per day. This will keep your blood sugar stable and avoid spikes. In protein we have tryptophan which is the pre-curser to serotonin, the happy hormone.

Healthy fats – we need to stop the fear of fats. Omega 3 fats won’t make you fat! They will keep your brain healthy and dampen down inflammation.

Fibre – increase the fibre to balance mood.

I shared my passion for all things gut and talked at length about the connection between the gut and the brain and advised how we can clean up our guts to help our minds.  I advised on the benefits of taking a daily probiotic to support good gut health.

I talked about the benefits of nutritional supplements and advised what I would prescribe to support mental health issues.  They are as follows:

Wild Nutrition Food Grown Vitamin B12 plus – supports the immune system, reduces tiredness & fatigue and helps with nerves and mood.

Wild Nutrition Full Spectrum Turmeric – proven to reduce inflammation

Wild Nutrition Cognitive Connect – supports the bodies own production of important neurotransmitters involved in mood and cognitive and behavioural health.

Wild Nutrition - Ashwagandha plus – the most exceptional Indian herb supports busy people unwind from life.

Wild Nutrition Magnesium – supports energy and the nervous system, a soothing and calming mineral.

Wild Nutrition Multi strain Biotic – unique complex of bacteria to supports shifts in gut bacteria

These supplements can be purchased directly from me at a discounted price.

As promised, here are my recipes used by the committee: -

Banana Bread

5 small bananas, 4 four mashing and one sliced down the middle for decorating the top.

250g gluten free flour

2.5 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda

1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

180g light muscovado sugar

75g unsalted butter

3 large eggs

Grated dark chocolate into the banana mix (optional)

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180.c and line a loaf tin with grease proof paper

In a large bowl, roughly mash 4 of the bananas, add the sugar, eggs and melted butter and beat together using an electric whisk

Sieve in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon and gently fold in

Pour the mixture into the pre-prepared tin

Slice the fifth banana in half and rub the cut side of each half with the slice of lemon to stop it browning, and arrange on top of the cake mix

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean

Leave to stand for 10 minutes in the loaf tin before taking out and standing on a wired rack to cool completely

ENERGY BALLS

A protein loaded snack to help keep the energy levels high and blood sugar stable.

100g rolled oats (gluten free)

25g pumpkin seeds

25g sesame seeds

25g desiccated coconut

50g pecans, chopped

100g Medjool dates, pitted

Pinch of cinnamon

50g maple syrup

150g tahini

Pinch of sea salt

One teaspoon of vanilla extract

25g dark chocolate (70%) cocoa, grated

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 180c fan. Place the oats, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, coconut and pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5-10 mins. Set aside and leave to cool
  • Place the dates, cinnamon, maple syrup, salt and vanilla into the food processor and puree
  • Remove and add to a mixing bowl. Add the cooled toasted oats, seeds, nuts and chocolate.
  • Mix everything together, you may need to use your hands!
  • Roll into balls should make about 20

ALMOND & CHIA BITES

I always have a batch of these in my fridge, they are wonderfully sweet thanks to the dates,

and chocolatey due to the cacao. The almonds, almond butter, coconut oil and chia seeds give you all the goodness needed to stay energised.

  • 200g ground almonds
  • 400g Medjool dates, pitted
  • 4 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (use either Pip & Nut or Whole Earth)
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

METHOD

Put all the ingredients into the food processor and whizz until everything starts to come together, roll into bite size balls.

Place the balls in the freezer for an hour to set, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.