A healthy diet can play a huge role in well-being and physical health. Gradually we are learning how our diet is boosting our social, emotional, and mental health. Though there is still a lot to uncover regarding the connection between diet and mental health, there is certain evidence that closely relates to it.
Earlier all mental health conditions, Were treated by clinical psychologists or psychiatrist therapies, including counselling, medications, and medical help. In recent days due to the emergence of different and specialized areas, nutritional psychiatry explains and helps in dealing with choosing the right food or diet for mental balance.
Back then, food and the brain were not the talk of the town, but nowadays research makes all sense that food affects the most on our brain than any other part of the body. One of the main reasons the brain plays a major role in the Gastrointestinal system or “the gut” is very relative to the brain.
The gut is resident to most of the living microbes that function and send in chemical messages, and neurotransmitters to the brain to take action, manage pain, regulate sleep, food, mood, emotion, etc. The gut is also referred to as the second brain The relationship between Britain and the gut is also called as gut-brain connection or gut-brain axis.
Patterns of diet helping mental health
1. Depression: The Mediterranean diet
A diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and less of red meat or processed meat lowered 10% of depression. The study showed its proven results in the experimental study groups. Certain healthcare officials also suggest this diet for support during the depressive stage. The diet also tells us to improve our intake of the following:
- Olive Oyl
- Dairy products
Also, the Mediterranean diet is limited to the following:
- fried food
- Processed meat
- Baked goods
- Sweet and beverages
The Mediterranean diet has its own patterns and rules, but this doesn’t mean that one should give up cultural food. Healthy eating habits are easy and culturally accepted food.
2. For stress and anxiety: limit alcohol, caffeine, and added sugars.
certain substances that might influence anxiety are :
- Added sugar
- Low intake of fruits
- Poor diet quality
Food status, fibrous fruits and vegetables and saturated fat, bacteria-laden fermented foods, etc. needs to be reduced and food that may reduce inflammation and stress needs to be consumed.
3. For mood and mental well-being:
Mood improves by having a simple, well-balanced diet that contains a variety of proteins and nutrition. Eating, high-quality nutrients, and dense food can always boost mood.
Studies have reviewed eating more fruits and vegetables is linked with less worrying and tension and great satisfaction in life. Whereas, literature reviews were linked with a higher quality diet, that can improve mood.
A simple diet that boosts mental health:
Experiencing any mental health conditions working directly with a specialist like a psychiatrist or psychologist or personal care, with straightforward challenges of diet to support emotional health and well-being. Adding on quality, diet, and healthy nutrition to the food consumed will help, also Load up on these nutrients as follows:
- omega-3 fatty acids
- B. Vitamins.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Prebiotics and probiotics contain healthy bacteria that help in balancing homeostasis which has a huge role in the body’s response to depression or stress.
Foods that contain pre-biotics or probiotics are:
- fermented food: yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, kimchi, Sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha
- Alliums: garlic, onions, leeks
- Vegetables: artichokes and asparagus
- Fruits: Apples and bananas
- Grains: barley and oats
Food habits that may harm mental health:
1. Ultra-processed foods
Due to industrial processes and techniques, food tends to be higher in calories, sugar, salt unsaturated fats, etc. Regular consumption of processed food throughout the week has been linked to incidents of symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, stress, etc.
2. Consumption of alcohol
A feedback loop often entangles the consumption of alcohol during mental health conditions. Alcohol might give temporary relief but symptoms elevate soon after. Drinking too much can increase symptoms of depression, stress, anxiety, and mood disorders.
It is best to quit drinking or drinking occasionally. No more than one drink for women or two drinks for men per day.
3. Irregular meal times
Time intervals throughout the day influence food choices. Inflammation, circadian rhythm, and gut microbiome may affect mental health.
A recent study proves that the regular meal times of 4500 adult workers are found related to higher levels of neuroticism, productivity loss, sleep issues, and other mental health problems.
4. A lack of sleep:
Sleep habits are affected by caffeine in most young people among college students which increases reports of symptoms of anxiety and depression. Most energy drinks containing caffeine distributed among adolescents also is associated with poor sleep, serious stress, and depression, which also adds to processed food.
Supporting diet for the change in mental health
changes doesn’t come easily but it takes time and patience. The changes will help make things easier and more fruitful:
- go easy on yourself
- Eat mindfully
- Start small
- Try swapping a few foods
- Monitor your progress.