The relationship between nutrition and mental health is undeniable. This article will help you understand how what you eat has an impact on your overall mental health. You will get to know the link between what you eat and how you feel. Also, you will get to know why vegetables and nutrients improve mood and your well-being in general.
Table of Contents
First thing first, let us differentiate these two terms. Nutrition entails the process of providing and obtaining food needed for growth and immunity. So, the consumption and absorption of food and nutrients required by your body is what is called nutrition. Therefore your body requires food and nutrients for growth and development.
How about the relationship between nutrition and mental health?
As you have noted you require nutrients to fight diseases. Therefore, with good nutrition, your body can fight chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Good nutrition also promotes:
- Healing process when you are wounded.
- Healthy body weight
- Support normal body weight
- And also important during the aging process
A healthy and good diet will vary depending on:
- The available foods
- Food customs
- Cultural context
- Physical activities
- And age
Mental health refers to your emotions and behavioral, cognitive, and social well-being. So, mental health is all about how you think and behave. So, when someone mentions mental health think about thoughts, movements and you’re your breathing systems. Therefore, your mental health is critical in every aspect of your day-to-day life. For instance, your mental health is critical when you are faced with episodes of stress. In this case, your mental health helps you cope with episodes of stress.
What can affect your mental health?
Mood disorders say bipolar disorder, premenstrual dysphoria, and cyclothymia can destabilize your mental status. What’s more, these disorders can increase the risk of physical health problems. Some of the problems that can arise as a result of such disorders include:
- Cardiac problems
- And diabetes
What about your brain function?
Like a personal car, your brain functions well when it is fueled with the right fuel. So, when you eat high-quality food containing minerals and vitamins, your brain functions well. Therefore, minerals and vitamins nourish and protect the brain from oxidative stress. When your brain is fed with the wrong fuel (in this case minerals and vitamins), it is bound to fail. For instance, processed foods are not good for your brain since they are not different from substandard fuel. Diets high in sugars are also harmful to the brain. These foods interfere with the body’s mechanism to regulate sugars. Additionally, such foods promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Studies have also shown that there is a relationship between a diet rich in sugars and dysfunctional thoughts.
Which foods are good for your brain?
1. Fatty fish
Fatty fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Your body requires omega-3 acids to build your brain and nerve cells. Also, these unsaturated fats are known to lower the blood vessels of beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloids are proteins that help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is advisable to eat fish at least once per week. However, it’s always very important to go for the varieties that are low in mercury. Such fish could include; salmon, Pollack, and canned light tuna.
What happens when your body does not have enough omega-3 acids?
Lack of omega-3 acids may lead to dry skin, inflammation, and hair thinning.
It could also lead to depression, joint pain, and dry eyes.
How can one boost omega-3 acids?
You need to increase the amount of omega-3 intake in your diet so to boost your omega levels. Therefore, seafood and fatty fish will guarantee you a good chunk of omega-3 acids.
On top of this, some plants such as chia seeds are also good sources of omega-3 acids.
If you are not sure where to get these plants, you can also go for omega-3 supplements that are made from fish and krill.
2. The Relationship Between Nutrition and Mental Health–Pumpkin seeds
The seeds of the pumpkins are known to have a powerful antioxidant that protects your brain from radical damage. What’s more, pumpkin seeds are also a good source of iron, copper, and magnesium.
How do these nutrients benefit your brain health?
- Iron-A huge percentage of iron is found in a protein in red blood cells. Iron is used in the manufacture of hemoglobin. Remember, red blood cells supply oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body. Additionally, iron is also responsible for the maintenance of the immune system. When your body does not have enough iron, you are likely to experience impaired brain function.
- Copper-This component is mostly found in the liver, skeletal muscles, heart, and brain. Your body requires this nutrient to relay and control signals via the nerves. Copper deficiency can affect brain performance. For instance, inadequate copper has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In that regard, it’s prudent to consult your healthcare provider so, knows to identify the amount of copper that your body is missing.
- Magnesium-this element improves learning and the ability to remember. Magnesium is also regulated:
- Glucose levels
- Blood pressure
- And manufacture of protein and bones.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to neurological diseases such as depression, epilepsy, and migraine.
3. The relationship between turmeric, nutrition and mental health
Turmeric is more common among Asians. However, due to its many benefits for the body, many people across the world have embraced it. This is a popular spice used when making a variety of dishes. What’s even interesting is that turmeric can be used in the management of many health conditions. This is because it is believed to have anti-inflammatory powers. Inflammation can lead to health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, cognitive decline, and heart disease. So, the consumption of turmeric helps in reducing inflammation and preventing potential health problems.
How else can turmeric benefit you?
- Improve your immune system-Turmeric contains curcumin which has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. These properties help fight diseases and boost your immune system.
- Treatment and prevention of cancer-Turmeric can help fight cancer cells. Numerous studies have shown that a combination of curcumin and turmeric can help in the management of cancer.
- Control your mood-This amazing spice also stabilizes your mood. For instance, the presence of curcumin in turmeric can treat depression by reversing harmful brain changes which are common among individuals that have a mood disorder. So, turmeric stabilizes your mood by increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine.
4.Consumption of eggs
This is another dish that should not miss on your list of groceries as far as your brain health is concerned. One of the best ways to consume eggs is by preparing a frittata made with other delicacies. Such delicacies may include veggies and olive oil. Eggs give you protein just like fish and beef. In addition to this, eggs can support your brain. Eggs support your brain through the provision of nutrients that make up brain cells. These nutrients include iron, protein, selenium, and iodine.
Additionally, eggs contain vitamin B which plays an integral role in your brain health. For instance, this vitamin maintains healthy nerve cells. Vitamin B also sharpens cells and improves your memory.
On top of this, eggs are a good source of choline and unsaturated fatty acids. Choline is a macronutrient that your body requires so to produce acetylcholine which helps stabilizes your mood. What’s more, choline is linked to improves mental function.
How can you get choline as you eat eggs?
The easiest way to obtain choline is by making sure that you concentrate on the yolk. It is the biggest source of this nutrient.
You should also consider taking enough choline to get the maximum nutrients. In this case, women need to consume at least 425 mg while men should take 550mg per day.
5. Consumption of nuts
You improve your heart through the consumption of nuts. In this case, your brain cannot be healthy if your heart is not. Nuts are rich in nutrients such as vitamin E, antioxidants, and healthy fats. These nutrients improve your memory.
How about the relationship between nuts, nutrition, and mental health?
- Improved memory- Nuts has been improves your cognitive performance. Long-term intake and high consumption of nuts have been shown to have lots of benefits. In this regard, the elderly population can also benefit from the nuts. This is because they are likely to experience memory loss at some point in their lifetime.
- Controls your mood- Nuts improve your memory and also lower the risk of depression. The beauty of the consumption of nuts regularly is that you get to lower the risk of depression, unlike a person who does not consume nuts.
- Improved learning –Pregnant mothers who eat nuts, especially in their first trimester stand a huge chance of giving birth to intellectually sharp children. What’s more, such women give birth to children who have high attention capacity and a good working memory. Therefore, ensure that you consume nuts (30 mg) once a week.
Numerous studies have shown that berries are helpful in terms of improving your brain function. Therefore, berries are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber. What’s more, berries contain flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These effects are responsible for the repair of damaged cells.
What are some of the benefits that come with the consumption of berries?
- Berries will improve memory-If you are looking for something that will improve your memory, go for the berries. Berries increase blood flow to the brain hence improving your memory. On top of this, children who drink smoothies made of berries are likely to have improved memory compared with those who take ordinary smoothies.
- Decrease the aging process-When you have improved brain function there is a tendency to fight and delay the aging process. So, you supply your brain with new neurons hence slowing down the aging process.
- Dementia prevention-Dementia is a common problem that can affect both old and young people. Consumption of berries protects your brain from oxidative stress and the management of Alzheimer’s disease. Remember Alzheimer’s disease affect the neurons in the brain. So, ensure that you include berries in your diet. This is because neurons are very important in your brain. This will also lower the risk of this disorder.
7. The relationship between Broccoli, nutrition and mental health
This plant is powerful in terms of nutrients and mineral provision. This amazing plant contains antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamin Antioxidants properties protect your brain from harmful compounds. On top of this, the soluble vitamin is critical for the formation of sphingolipids.
Why do you require broccoli in your diet?
- Preservation of your memory-For those that have been experiencing instances of forgetfulness and absent mindfulness, the broccoli plant could be the solution. The green veggie plant has anti-amnesic properties. These properties preserve and improve your memory.
- Promotes brain healing –Broccolis contain a sulforaphane chemical that improves cognitive functions following a brain injury. So, you lower the risk of brain edema/swelling, when you consume broccoli.
- Improved reasoning capacity-Intelligence is another aspect that you will benefit from if you are a regular consumer of broccoli. In this regard, there are two types of intelligence namely:
- Fluid intelligence –This refers to your ability to solve problems without prior knowledge.
- And crystallized intelligence –In crystallized intelligence, an individual solves the problem since they have prior knowledge.
Therefore, broccoli contains a pigment (lutein) that helps preserve crystallized intelligence by protecting the brain.
There is a relationship between nutrition and mental health. Minerals and vitamins nourish and protect the brain from oxidative stress. So, when you eat high-quality food containing minerals and vitamins, your brain functions well.
How does nutrition impact mental health?
Nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting mental health. Certain nutrients are essential for the production of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit signals in the brain.
Can a poor diet contribute to mental health issues?
Yes, a poor diet can contribute to mental health issues. Consuming a diet high in processed foods, added sugars, unhealthy fats, and lacking essential nutrients can negatively affect brain function and mood.
What is the relationship between gut health and mental health?
The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication system between the gut and the brain. Research suggests that the gut microbiota, the community of microorganisms in our intestines, plays a crucial role in influencing mental health.
Can nutrition impact conditions like depression and anxiety?
Yes, nutrition can impact conditions like depression and anxiety.