In this article we are going to discuss that recent evidence suggests that good nutrition is essential for our mental health and that a number of mental health conditions may be influenced by dietary factors. Its impact on short and long-term mental health, the evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nearly two thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day, compared with less than half of those who do report daily mental health problems. This pattern is similar for fresh vegetables and salad.
It’s very important to understand that our intake of fat, sugar and additives is much higher. Sugary foods are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This may cause an initial ‘high’ or surge of energy that soon wears off as the body increases its insulin production, leaving you feeling tired and low. Avoid sugar and sugary drinks, cakes, sweets and puddings. These are loaded with calories but have little nutritional value and may trigger mood swings because of their sugar content. East fewer high sugar foods and more wholegrain cereals, nuts, beans, lentils, fruit and vegetables.
Eat regular meals throughout the day to maintain blood sugar levels. Make sure you eat at least three meals each day. Missing meals, especially breakfast, leads to low blood sugar and this causes low mood, irritability and fatigue. If you feel hungry between meals you may need to include a healthy snack e.g. fruit, nuts and cereals.
Depression affects different people in different ways. Both excessive weight loss or weight gain can make your mood worse and should be avoided. Weight loss and lack of good nutrition will deprive the brain of glucose and the other nutrients that control mood you may need the advice of a dietitian to help you overcome this problem.
Not drinking enough fluid has significant implications for mental health. The early effects of even mild dehydration can affect our feelings and behavior. If you don’t drink enough fluids to replace this loss then you will get symptoms of dehydration, including irritability, loss of concentration and reduced mental functioning.
Coffee, colas, some energy drinks and tea all contain caffeine, which some people use to boost energy levels. However, in large quantities caffeine can increase blood pressure, anxiety, depressive symptoms and sleep problems.
In the end, it’s important for all of to understand that a balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water. Eat a wide variety of foods to keep your diet interesting and to ensure you obtain all the micronutrients you need. The more varied your diet, the more likely you are to obtain all the nutrients you need.