August 19, 2023

How Food and Mental Health Are Related

A growing body of research suggests that certain diets can help support mental health. The brain and nervous system depend on nutrients from food for their function, including the neurotransmitters that affect mood and the building blocks of myelin sheaths and neurons. A nutrient-dense diet supports mood and may have an impact on depression, anxiety and stress.

It's important to speak with your doctor and consider how food may interact with any medications you are taking for mental health conditions. Some foods, such as tyramine-rich foods (aged cheeses, salami and cured meats) and grapefruit, can interfere with the effectiveness of some antidepressant medications.

Eating a wide variety of whole foods provides the brain and nervous system with the nutrients it needs to function properly. It's best to avoid processed foods - which should be viewed as fuel rather than meals or snacks - and instead reach for healthy choices like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and fats such as nuts, seeds and olive oil.

In addition to providing essential nutrients, healthy eating can also help reduce excessive inflammation, improve gut microbiome health and support cognitive functioning. For example, researchers have found that mothers who are food insecure have children with twice the rate of behavioral problems compared to those of fully-food-secure children. Similarly, people who live with food insecurity are more likely to experience depression than those who do not. (Psychiatry Research, Vol. 235, 2017). The link between diet and mood is complex, but it appears that certain foods, nutrients and eating habits are associated with better mental health, while others are not.


Welcome to the blog all about your mental, physical and last but not least, your spiritual health, and well-being.
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