Nutrition and Mental Health: The Power of Food for a Healthy Mind

He who takes medicine and neglects his diet wastes the skill of his doctors. Chinese Proverb

It is not very common that I post exclusively on nutrition on my blog. However, too many know way too little about the direct influence that nutrition has on our health – all of our health. It affects mental, physical and spiritual health.

I work with patients in my husband’s chiropractic office and I see the affects of nutrition all of the time. I’ve seen too many “before and after” stories to ever discount the power of nutrition in our lives!

Don’t like anything but Big Macs and fries? Don’t like fruits and veggies? Then, chances are that you don’t like the status of your health either!

However, the good news is that our tastes can change if we are willing to step outside of our poor nutrition box! I hope you will read today’s article and make an assessment of where you are at on healthy eating spectrum.

No one successfully makes dramatic changes overnight but a step by step transition can be made – starting today!

Nutrition and Mental Health: The Power of Food for a Healthy Mind

The link between nutrition and good mental health is becoming more and more obvious as research in this area continues to deepen. Today, the rapidly growing field of nutritional psychology is discovering how crucial what you put in the body is for maintaining a sane, happy, and well-functioning psyche.

Nutrition, as researchers are finding, is just as powerful an influencer our mental health as it is our physical health.
There is a strong correlation between poor nutrition and depression

There is a strong correlation between poor nutrition and depression.

New studies are revealing that the way people eat has a lot to do with whether or not they will develop anxiety or depression. One reason for this is because how we eat greatly impacts our neurotransmitter levels and functioning, especially serotonin, which controls mood and sleep greatly. 90% of serotonin, in fact, is manufactured in the gut—not in the brain.

Without good gut health, then, we cannot absorb nutrients, and without proper nutrients, we cannot maintain the kind of healthy gut lining that will foster serotonin production. Studies have found that individuals who supplement with good probiotics were able to improve levels of anxiety and depression over the non-probiotic taking control group.1

Studies have also demonstrated that individuals eating healthier Mediterranean and Japanese types of diets, which are richer in clean, whole foods and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, are 25-30% less likely to suffer from depression than those eating the more red meat, poultry, and processed-food rich diets of Westerners.2

Omega 3

Omega 3s, Chiefly DHA, Greatly Linked to Mental Health

Numerous studies have found the omega 3s found in fatty fish, fish oil, and krill oil are crucial for mental health. In fact, one particular compound, DHA, has been determined to be one of the most crucial nutrients for good mental health and cognitive performance of all: DHA. In studies, DHA has proven to prevent cognitive decline and to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.3 Deficiency of DHA has been linked to depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and ADHD as well.4

Vitamins

Vitamin Deficiencies that are Directly Tied to Mental Disorders

Getting that RDA of all necessary vitamins and minerals is ideal, but deficiencies in certain vitamins directly impact our mental health. In fact, B12 deficiency can cause depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and anxiety, and long-term deficiency can lead to neurological disorders and cognitive decline as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.5
Other vitamins are crucial for mental health as well, especially vitamins B-1 (thiamine) and vitamin D.
B1 helps us convert the food we eat into glucose for cellular energy and bodily processes of all kinds. Without adequate B1 in the diet, the brain will suffer, and symptoms like depression and anxiety often surface.6

Minerals

Minerals and Mental Health

Minerals like zinc and magnesium are highly crucial for mood and optimum mental health. Zinc is found in rich stores in the brain and we lose zinc daily. So it’s important to get this important mineral in the diet. Studies evidence that zinc deficiency can cause depression and that supplementation can help alleviate depressed feelings and can also improve mood in patients taking antidepressants.8 Magnesium is also crucial for mental health. Studies show that deficiencies in this mineral can cause bipolar disorder, excessive feelings of anger, panic attacks, ADHD and depression.9

How to Get All the Vitamins and Minerals

How to Get All the Vitamins and Minerals You Need in a Nutrient-Depleted World

It can be challenging today to get all the vitamins and minerals we need from diet alone because many important vitamins and minerals have disappeared from our soils and, consequently our food. Plus, farmers breed genetically modified hybrids that are full of little else but water and sugar. Besides looking to all organic and local produce as much as you can, combined with grass fed meats and fresh caught fish, supplementing your diet with green superfood drinks can help you get all the crucial vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, phytonutrients, and other important compounds you need to stay healthy.

1. Ruixue, H. (2016). Effect of Probiotics on Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 8(8): 483.

2. Sánchez-Villegas, A. (2013). Mediterranean dietary pattern and depression: the PREDIMED randomized trial. BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 208.

3. Science News. Higher Level Of Certain Fatty Acid Associated With Lower Dementia Risk.

4. McNamara, R. K. (2015). Role of perinatal long-chain omega-3 fatty acids in cortical circuit maturation: Mechanisms and implications for psychopathology. World Journal of Psychiatry. 5(1): 15–34.

5. Neurological Manifestations of Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

6. Sathyanarayana Rao, T. S. (2008). Understanding nutrition, depression, and mental illnesses. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 50(2): 77–82.

7. Anglin, R. E. (2013). Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 202:100-7.

8. Ranibar, E. (2013). Effects of zinc supplementation in patients with major depression: a randomized clinical trial. Iran Journal of Psychiatry, 8(2): 73-8.

9. Bobbie Bartok, MD. (2014). Magnesium: An essential supplement for psychiatric patients.

10. Why Magnesium Deserves More Credit as the Most Underrated of Mineral

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://foodtolive.com/healthy-blog/nutrition-mental-health-power-food-healthy-mind/

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Overcoming Depression – Dine Nutritiously, Part 2

Our bodies are our gardens - Our wills are our gardeners    William ShakespeareI was talking to a friend yesterday. She was telling me about her husband. Within the last year or so he has discovered that he is gluten intolerant. She told me that once he quit eating gluten, his health improved so much that he was astonished. Her comment to me was that he had not realized how lousy he had felt until he felt better.

I am not anti-gluten. However, I am pro-health. I have the viewpoint of both a Christian and a near-death experiencer. Combined, my viewpoint is that no man-made food will ever even come close to the foods that our Creator has created for us to consume.

Too many think that if it tastes good and satisfies their hunger cravings, it is good. We need minerals, vitamins, fiber, and all kinds of nutrients and components that are naturally contained in fruits, vegetables, & whole grains. I would venture to guess that we need things in those foods that science hasn’t even discovered yet.

For those who are seeking to overcome their depression, food,in its most natural form, is a powerful friend. However, although you can expect quick improvement, don’t expect overnight miracles. If you have been eating poorly for the bulk of your life, you are not going to be bouncing with energy tomorrow after eating just one raw carrot today.

Try to eat a large variety of fruits, vegetables and natural grains. Meat is okay – just try not to make it the main component of your meals. Stick with natural sugars. Basically, the closer a food is to its harvested form, the better.

Remember that as I have been talking about overcoming depression, that I have shared that the process of overcoming depression will include many steps and essential behavior changes. Eating healthy is definitely one of them! If you are suffering from depression, I hope that you will continue to make those changes that will bring you better emotional health! You CAN do it! Be patient, it is a step by step process. Be sure to read today’s article!:

Diet and Depression: Foods and Nutrients for Recovery

Depression is a prevalent mental health illness throughout the world, causing negative thoughts and behaviors in those who experience it.

Many people with depression seek natural treatments for their symptoms, in one form or another. While there is no specific diet to treat depression, what a person consumes may play a role in managing its symptoms.

What’s the link between diet and depression?

A diet lacking in essential nutrients can increase the risk of depression. Eating a varied and healthy diet can help to treat depression.

Links between diet and depression were misunderstood until recently. Many factors contribute to depression symptoms, and there are dietary considerations for each of them.

A recent study posted to BMC Medicinedemonstrated that a group of people with moderate to severe depression improved their mood and signs of depression by eating a more healthful diet.

The study was the first to prove that diet alone could reduce depression symptoms. The dieters followed a specific program for 12 weeks that included one-on-one counseling with a dietitian. The treatment diet encouraged eating whole foods while discouraging things such as refined foods, sweets, and fried food.

Dieters showed greatly reduced symptoms when compared to other groups. In addition, more than 32 percent of participants experienced remission, so were no longer considered depressed.

Important foods and nutrients for depression

The following foods and nutrients may play a role in reducing the symptoms of depression.

Selenium

Selenium can be a part of reducing symptoms of depression in many people. Low selenium levels have been linked to poor moods.

Selenium can be found in supplement form or a variety of foods, including whole grains, Brazil nuts, and some seafood. Organ meats, such as liver, are also high in selenium.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many mood disorders, including depression. It is important to get enough vitamin D to help in the fight against depression.

This vitamin is obtained easily through full body exposure to the sun, and there are also many high-quality supplements on the market that contain vitamin D.

Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Nuts and seeds are sources of omega fats, which can help treat mood disorders and improve cognitive function.

In a study posted to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers observed that populations that do not eat enough omega-3 fatty acids might have higher rates of depressive disorders.

Good sources of omega-3s may include:

  • cold water fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel
  • flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds
  • nuts, such as walnuts and almonds

The quality of these foods can affect the levels of omega-3s they contain.

Eating omega-3 fatty acids may increase the level of healthful fats available to the brain, preserve the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells, and keep the brain working at the highest level. In turn, this can reduce the risk of mood disorders and brain diseases occurring.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants have become popular as they fight free radicals. Free radicals are damaged molecules that can build up in different cells in the body and cause problems, such as inflammation, premature aging, and cell death.

The brain may be more prone to this type of damage than other areas of the body. As a result, it needs a good way to get rid of these free radicals and avoid problems. Foods rich in antioxidants are believed to help reduce or reverse the damage caused by free radicals.

Everyday antioxidants found in a variety of whole foods include:

  • vitamin E
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin A (beta-carotene)

These nutrients may help reduce stress-related symptoms of psychiatric disorders.

B vitamins

Some B vitamins are also key in mood disorders such as depression. Vitamin B12 and folate, or vitamin B9, have both been linked to a reduced risk of mood disorders.

Sources of B vitamins include:

  • eggs
  • meat
  • poultry
  • fish
  • oysters
  • milk
  • whole grains

Fortified cereals may also contain vitamins B12 and folate. Other foods that have folate in them include:

  • dark leafy vegetables
  • fruit and fruit juices
  • nuts
  • beans
  • whole grains
  • dairy products
  • meat and poultry
  • seafood
  • eggs

Eating a varied diet is an easy way to ensure there is enough folate in the diet.

Zinc

Zinc helps the body perceive taste, boosts the immune system, and may also influence depression. Zinc levels may be lower in people with clinical depression, and zinc supplementation may also improve the effectiveness of antidepressants.

Zinc is found in supplements. Foods, including whole grains, oysters, beans, and nuts, are also good sources of zinc.

Protein-rich foods

High-quality proteins are the building blocks of life. Getting adequate protein is essential for everyone, but some forms of protein, in particular, may be more helpful for people with depression.

Foods such as tuna, turkey, and chickpeas have good levels of tryptophan, which is needed to form serotonin.

Serotonin deficiency was once thought to be a major cause of depression. We now know that the link between serotonin and depression is very complex, but it does seem to influence depression in many people. Including foods rich in tryptophan in a diet may help relieve symptoms.

 

Foods to avoid

Just as certain foods and nutrients may be of benefit to people with depression, there are also some that should be avoided.

Caffeine

For people with depression that is linked to anxiety, it may be important to avoid caffeine. Caffeine can make it difficult to sleep and may trigger symptoms of anxiety in many people.

Caffeine also affects the system for hours after it is consumed. It is best for people with depression to avoid caffeine if possible, or reduce consumption and stop consuming it after noon.

Alcohol

Though occasional alcohol drinking is seen as an acceptable distraction, it may make depression symptoms worse.

Excessive alcohol consumption may increase the risk of panic attacks or depressed episodes. Alcohol also alters a person’s mood and may turn into a habit, which could influence depression symptoms.

Refined foods

High-calorie foods with few nutrients in them may also influence depression symptoms. Foods high in sugar and refined carbs can promote a crash, as the energy from them is depleted. This can make a person feel mood swings or energy swings.

Nutrient-dense whole foods are a much better approach to balancing mood and energy levels.

Processed oils

Highly processed or refined oils, such as safflower and corn oil, are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. Having too many omega-6s in the diet can cause an imbalance in the body that may promote inflammation in the brain and influence depression symptoms.

Other factors that play a role in depression

Regular physical activity and spending time outdoors are proven ways to help improve the symptoms of depression.

There are other factors that link to both diet and depression and play a role in this mental healthillness.

Emerging research has shown gut bacteria to play an integral role in major mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disease. A 2016 meta-analysis reported that probiotics, in both supplement form and in fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, resulted in significant reductions in depression.

More research is needed to identify the therapeutic value of specific strains, but so far Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium show potential.

Obese people may be more likely to be depressed, and depressed people are more likely to become obese. This may be due to hormone changes and immune system imbalances that come with depression.

Spending time outdoors and at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly have been shown to improve mood and depressive symptoms.

Some people with depression also have substance abuse problems. Alcohol or other drugs can interfere with sleep patterns, decrease motivation, and alter a person’s mood.

Sleep may also play a role in depression. The body’s natural sleep cycle creates mood-altering chemicals to match the time of day. Altering this natural cycle may affect how well the body can use these chemicals.

Most adults respond well when they get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, though the number varies from person to person. It may also help to reduce exposure to blue light, during the hours leading up to sleep. Blue light is emitted by electronic devices and low-energy light bulbs.

 

Outlook and when to get help

Changing the diet to relieve the symptoms of depression is a promising step in treatment. It should not be seen as the only step needed, however. Working directly with a doctor before changing anything in a treatment plan should always be the priority.

There are also many support groups to help people move to a healthful diet and to keep people’s morale high, as they fight depression.

Today’s article was written by Jon Johnson and is shared from the following website: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318428.php

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