Your physical health has significant impact on your mental wellbeing. In order to have a happy brain, it is important that you take care of your physical body by giving it the nourishment it requires. We need to eat “[m]ostly plants” (Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food) and protein. As busy Americans, most of our diets are deficient of what our bodies require without supplements. This document is designed to help and draws research from various nutritional doctors and experts. These supplements are available at local health food stores and at Happy Brain Counseling, L.L.C., for a reduced cost.
Breakfast should include protein and supplements with minimal processed sugar. Good sources of protein are eggs or Greek yogurt. Protein helps with impulse control and promotes a balanced production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. A lack of protein (tyrosine and/or tryptophan) can cause symptoms of anxiety, depression and ADHD. Protein supplements may be taken (1000mg tyrosine BID/TID and/or 200mg 5-HTP) at bedtime or in the morning. Milk and eggs should be organic to reduce hormone and chemical consumption. Fruit, such as bananas or blueberries, should also be included in a healthy breakfast.
B-50 Complex, 1 tablet
1000 mg of Omega 3
5000 IUs D3 (with K2 and magnesium)
These supplements should be taken with breakfast. They give the body and brain the energy to optimally perform without feeling sluggish. Fish oil (Omega 3) is the most important nutrient and is the first line treatment for ADD or ADHD and other disorders. The quality of Omega 3 is important for it to be effective and not harmful. Omega 3 should have 1000 mg of EPA and DHA and go through molecular distillation to be free of mercury and pesticide. Once open, it should be refrigerated. Liquid Omega 3 can be added to drinks for those of us who don’t like pills.
Exercise every day.
Some form of exercise every day is necessary and helps with mood balance, mental focus, overall health and promotes good social skills. It should be something we enjoy and is better if we have a buddy to keep us active. Daily sunlight is very important for healthy bones and mood.
Lunch and dinner should consist of plants and protein.
What we eat, our daily diet, is very important. We need nutrient rich foods, such as green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, fresh spinach), beans, fish, legumes, nuts (such as almonds), whole grains (barley, oats) and fruit (e.g. bananas or berries). A lack of these foods in the day-to-day diet will cause deficiencies. For instance, a lack of green vegetables, beans and nuts can cause magnesium deficiencies which can cause high blood pressure, constipation, muscle tension (e.g. headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia). Magnesium supplements can, and likely should, be taken (400 mg daily and 200 mg if magnesium citrate is used). If organic milk is not a regular part of your diet, then we need to take 5000 IUs of Vitamin D (D3 with K2 and magnesium) each morning to supplement. Low levels of vitamin D is associated with depression, bone/joint weakness, poor immune system, and poor cardiovascular health. Calcium is acquired through dairy, tofu, leafy greens, broccoli and supplements (including Tums). It is important to note that no more than 1,200 mg per day of calcium should be consumed so supplements of calcium are not recommended. Excess calcium can cause imbalance of other nutrients like reduced magnesium and zinc and can lead to hardening of the arteries and an overall reduced life expectancy.
Consistent bedtime routine.
We need 8 hours of sleep each night and should have a consistent bedtime routine. Happy Brain recommends creating regular weekday and weekend routines to promote a natural circadian rhythm. This rhythm allows us to feel sleepy at night (because of a gradual increase in melatonin and decrease in cortisol) and awake each morning feeling rested (due to a decrease in melatonin and an increase in cortisol). Bed time needs to be peaceful and relaxing. Light candles, put the cell phone and computer away, take a bath, drink distilled water, naturally decaffeinated tea, and/or a glass of red wine (if you are able to control your alcohol consumption). White noise (running water, a fan, iPhone app) can be used to encourage restfulness and relaxation as you sleep. If you have a difficult time falling to sleep, 1 to 3 mg of melatonin may be taken to encourage this natural restful state (you can increase it to 5 to 10 mg if necessary). Also, NO CAFFEINE is important after lunch. If you have anxiety it is best to eliminate caffeine from your diet all together.
To learn more about creating a natural circadian rhythm. See: