Our diet and mental health share a complex relationship. Our brain is the masterpiece of our behaviors, decision-making, thoughts, and senses. Just like an expensive vehicle, our brain needs high-quality fuel in the form of a nutritious and healthy diet. With a healthy diet, our mind functions at a higher efficiency. Moreover, there’s decreased risk of depression and anxiety in people using a well-balanced diet.
“A meta-analysis of 21 studies has revealed that healthy dietary patterns are associated with a decreased risk with a reduced risk of depression.”
How food impacts our mental health?
What we eat is not only a physical matter but also a nutritional content. Our brains consume these nutrients for energy production and carrying out complex mechanisms.
Furthermore, the timings of our diet also impact the functioning of our minds. A regular and well-balanced diet can prove beneficial, while binge eating patterns can be detrimental to mental health.
Not only is this, but disordered eating habits, particularly dieting, are the most common risk factor for developing eating disorders. Similarly, an increased BMI is also associated with depression and stress issues.
Which mental health issues can develop?
Disorganized eating habits and a bad diet are risk factors for developing many mental health issues such as:
- Body dysmorphic syndromes
- Mood disorders
What should we eat for better mental health?
Generally, many observational studies have shown that healthy Mediterranean diets, including fruits, vegetables, low fat, olive oil, whole grains, and white meat, are linked with decreased depression and stress.
Similarly, increased use of fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables during adolescence is also related to less incidence of depression during adulthood.
According to a randomized controlled trial, omega 3-supplements are highly effective in treating depression and anxiety.
On the other hand, Western-style diets such as red meat, butter, refined grains, potatoes, and high-fat products are related to a higher incidence of mental health issues.
When to consult a nutritional psychologist?
Although we can change our dietary intake and dietary patterns following a disciplined approach, we should seek a nutritional psychologist’s help under the following conditions:
- Rigorous fasting
- Self-induced vomiting
- Binge eating
- Skipping meals
- Using dietary medications, steroids, or creatine.
- Experiencing body shaming or inferiority complexes.
A nutritional psychologist closely observes the diet patterns and assesses the nutritious values. Then, he devises a practical and easy-to-follow plan, conducts counseling, and monitors the response. Moreover, he also implements different psychological therapies to get rid of bad dietary habits.
Our mental health specialists provide high-quality counseling and therapies for clients experiencing issues related to dietary patterns.
Should you need any assistance, feel free to contact us or visit us.