Diet Linked to Mental Health
How many of you feel down or even depressed when you have put on a few pounds or even just look in the mirror?
Well, experts in the fields of psychiatry and public health finally recognize the undeniable link between mental health and diet and nutrition. Research has overwhelmingly confirmed the relationship between nutritional deficiencies and poor mental health.
I have clients coming to me on a daily basis who fill in their questionnaire for my Health Eating or Exercise plans who say to me ‘I just want to feel better about myself’. And you would not believe how much happier they become after changing their lifestyle, whether that means doing some exercise or just changing their outlook on food. It gives me great pleasure when I have clients write to me to say ‘I am never going back to the way I was, I am so much happier!’
While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology and many other areas. In the last few years, significant links have been established between nutritional quality and mental health. Scientifically rigorous studies are now making important contributions to the understanding of the role of nutrition in mental health.
Researchers have found that in addition to healthy eating, nutrient-based prescriptions also have the potential to help in the management of mental disorders. For example, studies show that a variety of nutrients have a clear link to brain health, including omega-3s, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and amino acids.
Maternal and early-life nutrition is also emerging as a factor in mental health outcomes in children, while severe deficiencies in some essential nutrients during critical developmental periods have long been implicated in the development of both depressive and psychotic disorders.
Also being looked at is the relationship between “unhealthy” dietary patterns and poor mental health in children and teenagers. Given the early age of onset for depression and anxiety, the information points to dietary improvements as a way of preventing the initial onset of common mental disorders.
As I have said during numerous articles, try to eat at least 6 small meals a day with a good source of protein and a complex (brown) carbohydrate, and obviously plenty of salad and vegetables. And try to exercise at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just a 30-40 minute brisk walk. This will help clear your mind, give you time to think, and essentially lose some weight and increase your well-being.
So my top tips for this week are:
- There is a clear link between poor nutrition and depression and anxiety. So if you are unhappy, do something about it.
- Make sure your children, or even unborn child, are getting the essential nutrients they need
- Eat little and often, at least 5-6 small meals a day and cut out the junk!
- Exercise at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just a 30-40 minute walk
- Drink less alcohol!
For more information on Healthy Eating and Exercise contact me at nonevans.com