Is There A Link Between Nutrition and Mental Health?
Mental health and illnesses are very difficult to understand. What works for one person, may not work for another. Lately, there has been a push to identify and treat mental illnesses and issues. One of these advancements is identifying a link between nutrition and mental health.
While it is apparent eating healthy foods make you fell better physically, nutrition and mental health are having the same reaction. Think about it as a domino effect. Eating healthy makes you feel better physically, and feeling better physically puts you in a better state of mind, and allows you to be more physically active. Being more physically active not only lets you explore new aspects of life, but helps fight depression, by keeping you out and about, not letting you resort back to staying in your house everyday.
Certain nutrients have also been linked to boosting your mental health. A recent study published in the journal, “The Lancet Psychiatry” involved 18 researchers from around the world and they research showed that good nutrition and mental health play an integral role with each other. One of the researchers stated, “Evidence is steadily growing for the relation between dietary quality (and potential nutritional deficiencies) and mental health, and for the select use of nutrient-based supplements to address deficiencies.”
A study published in 2013 in the journal, “Neurocase” followed two women that suffer from bipolar disorder for two years. These women were put on a ketogenetic diet, which is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. The researchers found that their moods stabilized better than taking the medication alone.
David Mischoulon, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and his team are working with nutrition and mental health and have identified specific nutrients that are helpful with boosting mental health. Adding these simple nutrients to your diet could be very helpful.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The best sources are fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds and are believed to improve brain health. Mischoulon states, “We can’t say with 100 percent confidence that deficiencies in omega-3s cause depression, but there seems to be a greater risk that you will become depressed if you’re omega-3 deficient.”
The best sources would be eating eggs, poultry, and soy. These proteins contain the essential amino acids that help keep your body functioning properly, including mood regulation.
The best sources would be lentils, chickpeas, and spinach. These foods also produce mood-balancing neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. Research shows that many people dealing with depression have low folate levels in their blood.
The best source is eating mushrooms. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to depression.
The best source for maintaining a good level of zinc is eating pumpkin seeds. Zinc is important for your immune function and mood regulation Oysters also have a high level of zinc.
The best source for iron is eating red meat. Red meat has a high absorbency rate for iron, which is used to battle depression. Nuts, beans, and dark leafy greens are also high in iron.
It is important to keep in mind that eating these foods will not permanently cure your mental illness, but it will help to deflect and battle the symptoms. Therapy and other methods of help may still be needed and there is nothing wrong with that.