Second Timothy 1:7 says, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The Word of God renews our mind in a spiritual sense. Now we have discovered that foods and nutrients from His plant kingdom can have a significant effect on mood, memory and other mental functions. And to live the abundant life we all deserve, it's important to have a clear and focused mind, as God intended.
Here are 10 very effective nutrients for a healthy mind:
1. Beta-carotene - Adequate amounts of beta-carotene are critical to ensure proper thought processes. Good sources are dark green leafy vegetables, carrots and sweet potatoes.
2. Folic Acid - A deficiency of folic acid (folate) can lead to depression, dementia and even psychiatric problems. Studies show that correcting a folic acid deficiency with as little as 400 micrograms daily can increase brain chemical transmitters (serotonin) and can correct forgetfulness, depression and irritability. Good sources are spinach, lima beans and green leafy vegetables.
3. Garlic - Studies indicate that garlic tends to be a mood elevator. People who take it regularly report less irritability, fatigue and anxiety. (Garlic has heart-protective and cancer-preventive effects as well.)
4. Iron - Essential to maintain normal mental functions, iron is found in greens, lean read meat and nuts.
5. Peppers - Capsaicin, a primary chemical in chili peppers, can cause the release of brain chemicals (endorphins) that produce increases in mood and feelings.
6. Riboflavin - Found in almonds (you only need 10 a day!), cereals and fat-free milk, riboflavin is helpful in maintaining memory function.
7. Selenium - An essential mineral and antioxidant that plays a key role in protecting brain cells from free-radical damage, selenium is in fish, seeds and nuts, and oat bran.
8. Thiamine - Another essential substance for normal memory function, thiamine is found in wheat bran cereal, nuts and wheat germ.
9. Zinc - Slight deficiencies in zinc can lead to poor memory function and mental activity in general. A regular diet of cereals, turkey and legumes (all high in zinc) can help prevent deficiencies.
10. Caffeine. Although you might not be considered a "nutrient," caffeine is actually a widely used mood elevator. Studies show that it can function as a mild anti-depressant and also increase concentration, reaction times and thought processes. But don't exceed two cups a day.