More studies are being conducted on the role that nutrition plays in relation to mental health. The correlation between nutrition on physical health has been long-established. One of the first means of tackling physical illnesses is to adjust a patient’s diet. Research is finding that these same dietary recommendations that are made for common physical diseases can also be beneficial and relevant for mental disorders.
Although mental illness is a complex, multifaceted problem, improving diet can have an impactful effect and used in conjunction with additional treatment to improve a patient’s quality of life. With problems such as depression, the symptoms can eventually become worse and anything that can be done to improve symptoms would be welcome. It has been found that dietary counseling can be a welcome addition to traditional treatment for those that are suffering from depressive symptoms.
The interesting part of psychiatric nutritional studies is that the same foods that have always been touted for physical health are the same ones that seem to have the most positive effect on mental health. A diet which includes colorful vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, raw nuts, fish, lean meats, and the sparing use of healthy fats such as olive oil are found to overall be the healthiest. On the other hand, processed foods, refined carbohydrate, and unhealthy fats were equally found to have a negative impact on the brain and body. Additionally, it would seem that gut health, promoted by the ingestion of fermented foods, which is not only gaining popularity for physical health benefits can also be beneficial to mental health.
Studies increasingly show us the ways in which diet influences symptoms of depression. Nutrition is a straightforward variable to control, so it can be understood that improving this part of health may be a very impactful way to address overall health.
Eventually, the therapeutic aspect of improving nutrition will likely become a significant part of mental health treatment. Many professionals are beginning to advocate for a holistic approach that recognizes the significant aspect of diet and nutrition as a central theme for physical and mental health.
How Foods Can Affect How You Feel
Food affects all parts of our bodies, so it should be no surprise that it has an impact on our brain function and emotional well-being. If we think about nutrients and food as the fuel that keeps us going, we can imagine the impact the type of foods we choose to eat might have on our system.
We have a greater understanding of some of the ways in which certain chemicals found in food react to our bodies. For example, if you have ever had a cup of coffee to stay awake during the day you already know that what you ingest can have a cause an effect. The same can be said of the quality of our diet and what we choose to eat.