One day we’re hearing coffee is good for us, the next week that it’s not; same with eggs, milk, whatever. Is there any health advice that’s not contradictory? There are some nutrients for the brain that a pretty certain to always be good, but these aren’t the kinds of vitamins you can get from a bottle.

Make sure you’ve got enough vitamin-C. Nope, not the type that comes in a pill or from oranges and the like. In this vitamin-C, the “c” stands for compassion. Dr. James Doty, world-class neurosurgeon, considers compassion the key to better health. Compassion has been shown to be a predictor of longer life and an improved ability to recover from disease. It improves our psychological well being and therefore overall heath when we feel a greater sense of happiness, purpose, and meaning.

Honesty is another key “nutrient” for the brain. During a 10-week experiment, the mental and physical health of 110 adults between the ages of 18 and 71 was monitored. Half of the study group was told to stop telling lies and the other group was not given instructions. At the end of the study, it was found that participants in the no-lie group had better health. On average, people tell about eleven lies a week. Those who told just three fewer lies experienced four fewer mental complaints, like feelings of melancholia or tension and three less physical problems like headaches and sore throats.

In a similar study, participants who wrote down things they were grateful for reported less health complaints than the control group as well as the group who was told to write down their daily hassles. They also felt better about their lives and had more optimistic about the future.

Not everything that’s healthy for us has to come from something we ingest –it could be already inside us in the form of these “mental nutrients!”