What is the relationship between diet and mental health?

What is the influence of diet on mental health?

Mental health is a global health issue that affects many of us. Currently, one in eight people in the world (according to the WHO) suffers from a mental illness, the most common being depression and anxiety. In this article we will show the influence of diet on mental health

The main solutions are therapy and medication, but there is a rapidly developing field that could also help: nutritional psychiatry

Nutritional psychiatry is simply the concept of including nutrition and food supplements in the treatment of some mental illnesses, let's find out a little more about it. 

The influence of the gut and the brain

Before we reveal to you right away what you should eat and what you should reduce, let's first take a look at the link between the gut and the brain.

There is bidirectional communication between these two organs: the gut transfers information to the brain and the other way around. The intestinal microbiota (all the microorganisms that live in the intestine) influences the central nervous system, specifically the regulation of serotonin. Serotonin is involved in pain control, regulating the circadian rhythm and feeling happiness. Thus, a decrease in serotonin can lead to depression, anxiety, ... 

This is why taking care of your gut health is essential to reduce the incidence of mental illness. To do so, it is recommended to eat enough fiber (fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains), to include fermented foods in your diet, to limit processed foods and, if possible, to limit antibiotics. Bonus tip: you should give probiotics a try. Don't hesitate to ask your nutritionist for more information on which ones to choose. 

Foods that impact mental health

You have already managed to understand the influence of diet on mental health. Now let's focus on foods that will fight inflammation and have been shown to have an impact on mental health. 

  • First of all, sources of vitamin D, as there is a link between a deficiency in this vitamin and the development of depression and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). You can find it in eggs, fish, fish oils, mushrooms, and avocados. But the greatest source is the sun, so don't hesitate to get outside and sunbathe.
  • Then, we have omega 3, they have a key role in the proper functioning of the brain and facilitate communication between neurons. You will find them in vegetable oils, fish, nuts and seeds.
  • We then recommend that you include more sources of antioxidants in your diet because they have the virtue of protecting against neuronal aggression and therefore reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. You will find them in red fruits, green tea, spices and herbs, dark chocolate, …
  • And finally, we advise you to consume magnesium, it fights against oxidative stress and decreases fatigue and stress, and it supports the production of serotonin, also known as the "well-being hormone". It is found in some mineral waters, dark chocolate, leafy greens, nuts, whole grains and seeds.

To summarize it all, there is a big influence of diet on mental health. We recommend that you adopt a varied diet based on fresh products and rich in vitamins and minerals and everything you need for the health of your brain. But apart from nutrition, lifestyle is also very important. Make sure you exercise regularly to release dopamine and endorphins, the so-called "happiness" and "anti-stress" hormones. Also be careful to get enough sleep, as poor sleep will tend to magnify mood disorders in general.  


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