Diet and Mental Health

With one in four people suffering with mental illness during their lives, it is extremely important to take care of our mental health. As the stigma begins to fade and awareness is increased, more information is becoming readily available through mental health charities such as Mind.
 
Mental health problems must be dealt with by a trained professional, but there are things we can do to promote mental wellbeing. Food can affect mood and a bad diet can cause the following some problems:

  • Depression
  • Mood Swings/Disorders
  • Stress
  • Memory problems
If you miss meals a lot of the time you can find yourself feeling easily distracted and irritable. Eventually energy levels can decrease, leading to hormone level changes and a lack of nutrients being taken to areas of the body in need. This can all influence mental health.
So how do food groups affect mental health?

  • Carbohydrates – good sources of carbohydrates release energy slowly, helping you feel fuller for longer.
  • Fats – nerve cells in the brain are made up of fat which helps it to work quickly and be flexible. Do not consume too many fats.
  • Protein – used for growth and repair around the body. Chemical messengers transport information to other parts of the brain, including mood signals. The body is able to produce some amino acids, but some needs come from food.
  • Vitamins and minerals – helps the body covert fatty and amino acids into the brain.
The internet has so much information on healthy diet it can be difficult to know exactly what to eat. For more information on nutrition and mental health or to find a nutritionist in your area please visit Nutritionist Resource (www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk. Please note, these nutritionists are not all christians, but will respect your fairht when trying to help you.
Sarah Jones, 20/09/2011