Mental Health & Nutrition
Mental health and nutrition are two fields that are very much related, and yet not many people know exactly how much. Studies have shown that mental health can be affected by a number of nutritional deficiencies, or even an unhealthy diet in general. Luckily, there are several ways you can improve your nutrition and mental wellness at the same time. Remember, any dietary or nutritional changes should be reviewed or consulted with by a qualified healthcare professional.How can regulate your food intake to improve your mental health and wellness? It isn’t as difficult as you may think. Here are some useful tips that may make it easier:
- Check your vitamin levels.
Vitamin deficiencies particularly vitamins D and B have been linked to mental health issues. Supplementing your diet with these vitamins is a great way to ensure you’re getting all the essential nutrients you need for both your mental wellness and overall health. For a list of specific vitamins that have been linked mental illnesses, click here.
- Eat more non- and minimally-processed foods.
Fruit and vegetable consumption in the U.S. is very low. In fact, most people don’t even nearly enough fruit and vegetable intake to account for their daily recommended servings. Recent studies have found that eating excessive amounts of “junk food”-- foods high in fat with little to no nutritional value-- are also linked to mental health issues. The fats and chemical compounds found in these foods have a direct impact on the brain’s chemistry, causing addiction and can even worsen some mental illnesses. This doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally indulge in your favorite snack foods, but remember, moderation is key.
- Mind your gut.
Research has shown that intestinal microbes can contribute to mental illnesses. These microbes, or intestinal bacteria, have been shown to have an influence on the brain. While the specifics of how this bacteria affects mental health have yet to be determined, talk to your doctor about the number of ways to boost the “good” intestinal bacteria which may improve mental wellness.
- Stay with it!
Dietary changes may be difficult to start and stick with, but the end results could potentially transform your mental health for the better. For a more in-depth look at how you can use your diet to improve your mental health, click here.
For more information about mental health and nutrition, visit the following links:
- Nutrition and Mental Health | FamilyDoctor.org
- Mental Illness and Nutrition | NAMI
- The Relationship Between Nutrition and Mental Disorders | Sciencemag.org
- Nutrition for Mental Health | Best Masters in Counseling