“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
While most people know that food is directly related to their physical health, many now also believe that food is an integral part of mental health too. Due to the round-the-clock functioning of the brain, it becomes essential to nourish it by constantly supplying the fuel in the form of nutritious food, which directly affects the overall structure and working of the brain. In fact, nutrition can be a very important factor in the onset of mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
While many believe that depression and other mental illnesses arise from emotional imbalance and other biochemical factors, nutrition plays an active role in increasing the onset, severity and duration of the problem. Though the details pertaining to the physical repercussions of malnutrition are easily available, information related to mental effects are not sufficiently available yet. However, several new studies, especially due to the rise of nutritional psychiatry, are now extensively shedding light on the matter.
Nutritional food patterns act as effective therapeutic intervention
According to the NCBI, some easily noticeable food and nutritional patterns that precede depression are those that persist during depression, such as poor appetite, skipping meals and cravings for sweet foods. According to the emerging discipline of nutritional neuroscience, nutritional factors are associated with human cognition, behavior and emotions.
One of the most noticeable and recurring features often witnessed among all the patients with mental disorders is the deficiency of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, etc. While there may be many factors for the onset of depression and similar other mental health problems, nutrition definitely plays a major role. With several studies highlighting the fact that the daily supplement of vital nutrients plays a crucial role in alleviating symptoms, taking nutritious foods may be a sure shot way to prevent the onset of depression.
Additionally, the daily supplement of essential nutrients, such as amino acids, often reduce patients’ symptoms. As amino acids are converted into neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers of neurons that play a key role in influencing one’s mood, they effectively lessen depression and other mental health problems.
Based on the above findings and studies, nutritional supplement/treatment as a therapeutic intervention is now being widely hailed, which may prove beneficial in curing, managing or preventing mental health disorder. Consequently, it is being considered appropriate for controlling mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, bipolar disorder, etc.
Right dietary changes pave way to right thinking
The capacity of the brain to function properly depends on the type of food being consumed. The consumption of physically harmful foods, such as processed and refined foods, reduces the ability of the brain to expunge the toxins. They not only worsen the regulation of insulin, but also enhance inflammation and oxidative stress. In fact, several studies have established a correlation between a high-refined sugar diet and impaired brain function, including the worsening of mood disorder symptoms, such as depression.
The deprivation of good-quality nutrition, or the presence of free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells in the brain, may lead to brain tissue injury and other consequences, such as anxiety, depression, etc. Additionally, food alters the present level and activity of certain neurotransmitters. As food produces four neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and acetylcholine, this directly affects the mental health. Therefore, by making much-needed dietary changes, one can witness many changes in his or her overall well-being.
Recovery road map
Undoubtedly, good food is a boon for both physical and mental health. However, foods rich in harmful ingredients can seriously worsen mental health; therefore, selecting nutritious foods becomes indispensable to stay mentally fit.
If you or someone you know is suffering from any form of mental illness, connect with the Florida Mental Health Helpline. Besides accessing information related to the mental disorder treatment in Florida, you can chat online or call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 to locate the best rehab centers in Florida.