The statistics of mental illnesses in society are soaring. Anxiety and depression are the most prevalent, with nearly 1 in 3 Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
Functional nutrition is a term that is becoming more and more popular as people are waking up to the fact that what we eat has a direct impact on our physical and mental health. While psychiatric medications can be helpful for some, they often come with a host of undesirable side effects. For many people, making dietary and lifestyle changes is a much preferable option.
There is growing evidence that diet plays a significant role in mental health. Numerous studies have shown that certain nutritional deficiencies can contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Conversely, eating a nutritious diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nervous system can help to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Studies have also shown that magnesium deficiency can worsen symptoms of depression. Good sources can help to protect against mental illness and improve symptoms.
Some specific nutrients that are particularly important for mental health include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin D, probiotics, and B vitamins.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for proper brain function. They have been shown to improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. Eating foods rich in omega-3s or taking a fish oil supplement is an easy way to increase your intake of these important nutrients.
Magnesium is another nutrient that is critical for mental health. It has calming effects on the nervous system and can help to relieve anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Magnesium deficiency is also linked to depression. Good sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fish.
Vitamin D is another nutrient that is essential for brain health. It has been shown to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. Vitamin D deficiency is common, particularly in the winter months when we get less sun exposure. Taking a vitamin D supplement or spending time outdoors in sunlight can help to increase your levels of this important nutrient.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut. They have been shown to improve mental health by reducing inflammation and balancing the immune system. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
B vitamins are important for energy production and nervous system function. B12 deficiency is linked to depression, anxiety, and memory problems. Good sources of B vitamins include poultry, eggs, fish, and leafy greens.
Making sure you are getting enough of these nutrients is a key part of maintaining mental health. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is the best way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need. In addition to eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress levels can also help to keep your mind healthy and reduce the risk of mental illness.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, talk to your doctor and Monica Partier about how dietary changes could help you feel better. Making even small changes to your diet can make a big difference in your mental health.
“Optimum nutrition is the medicine of tomorrow” – Linus Pauling