Nutrition’s role in Mental Health

Nutrition's role in Mental Health

The importance of nutrition is hardly surprising. After all, food is crucial to life. But what exactly is food? In modern times, we tend to think of food as take-away burgers and pizzas, ready meals, and other high-fat, high-sugar convenience foods. In reality, food is a lot more than just what we put into our mouths. For example, the way we prepare food can have a significant impact on our mental health.

Food Intake

When talking about nutrition, we often think about our physical health, which is also important when considering mental health, but in reality, nutrition effects so much more than that. What we eat comes into play with not only the body, but also the brain which often can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. In addition to what we perceive about nutritional health in relation to mental health, it is not only what we eat, but also how much we eat. It has been noted in a post by Sutter Health that when unhappy or stressed, people tend to eat too much or too little, according to the American Dietetic Association. When you eat too much, you will experience loss of momentum and weight gain, whereas if you eat too little, tiredness creeps up on you making it a difficult barrier to break. In any scenario, inadequate nutrition during times of stress and despair exacerbates the problem. This is a cruel cycle, but it can be broken.

Beneficial Contents of Your Food, for Your Brain

Food, a very complex topic. When relation food and nutrition to the brain, an article by PyschCentral states that Doctors recommend eating foods that keep neurotransmitters functioning smoothly and pave the way for a healthy mind. They also suggest avoiding foods that can derail those neurotransmitters. These include foods that are high in fat and sugar and low in fiber. Yes, when thinking health we check the ingredients, but we also need to make notice of the nutrition label and what it actually means! Some things to look for are:

  • Fats: fats will assist your brain to function more efficiently! You can often find these fats in things such as milk, eggs, olive oil, nuts, avocados, and more!
  • Omega-3: along with fats, omega 3 fatty acids are great for boosting your mental health. You can often find Omega-3 in eggs, fish oil supplements, seeds (flax, chai, and more), as well as certain seafoods.
  • Protein: protein, protein, protein! This is a great source of amino acids that work well as a mood regulator!
  • Fruits, Vegetables, & Wholegrains: These contain a good amount of minerals and vitamins that not only your brain needs to be healthy, but also your body!

While these are important, you also want to look out for your gut health, where stressors can impact the pace, going up or down. You can look after your gut by having a balanced intake of probiotics, vegetables, fruits, and beans.

This is an opportunity to educate and raise awareness of the importance of a healthy, balanced diet and nutrition in relation to your mental wellbeing. We hope that you have found this post interesting. Thanks again for reading!

This information does not substitute for professional medical advice and is provided as a source of potentially helpful information. If you seek to improve your nutrition intake or have any concerns with your nutritional health please, speak with a professional to learn more.