TOPIC 2 - NUTRITION & MENTAL HEALTH
with Lisa Middleton - Advanced Sports Dietitian
- Athletes often think about the foods they need to keep their body performing at their best, but what about the best foods for our brain?
- Food can have a positive impact on focus and concentration but it can also benefit our mental health. We are going through something that we never have before, and this can bring on feelings of stress or anxiety. Athletes in particular may feel anxious about a big change in lifestyle, especially when timelines of a return to sport are uncertain and usual training routines are affected.
- The good news is that the food we eat can have a positive effect on mood and stress, and a number of studies are showing the benefits of eating well for our brains and how we feel.
- There are a few different foods and food groups that have been found to be most beneficial, and interestingly these seem to fit with a Mediterranean style diet, which includes foods such as:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Foods rich in omega-3’s such as fish and seafood
- Herbs and spices
- Probiotic and prebiotic foods
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Including these foods regularly can have a positive impact on our gut health, inflammation in the body and a combined impact on our mental health, including symptoms of anxiety.
- These are also nutrient dense foods, so even more reason to eat them on your weekly shopping list.
Salmon and ricotta frittata
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 400g tin salmon, drained and flaked
- 100g low-fat ricotta cheese, crumbled
- 6 eggs, whisked
- 1/3 cup low-fat milk
- 1 tbsp chopped dill
- ½ cup low-fat cheese, grated
Heat olive oil on low heat in a non-stick fry pan with heatproof handle, add spring onions and spinach and cook until spinach wilts.
Remove pan from heat and add drained salmon and crumbled ricotta, stir gently so it is evenly spread over the bottom of the pan.
Whisk eggs lightly, combine with low-fat milk, pour into pan. Continue to heat on low heat until eggs are almost cooked, being careful not to burn the base of the frittata.
Sprinkle with chopped dill, grated low-fat cheese and salt/pepper to taste, then place under pre-heated grill until cheese is melted and frittata cooked through.
Serve with a green salad.