You’ve probably heard the saying “You are what you eat” and while this saying usually refers to your body (since food is what helps our bodies grow strong) it can also refer to your mental health. Time and time and again, studies have shown that good nutrition is necessary to good mental health. For example, if you want to increase your memory, studies have shown that certain foods can act as a memory booster, like ginseng, blackberries and spinach.
There are a number of mental health conditions that might be affected by certain dietary factors. Nutrition is perhaps one of the most under-recognized factors in development of the mind. Each year, we learn more and more about the link between good nutrition and good mental health, both on short-term and long-term effects on the mind. The evidence shows us that food contributes to the development and management of mental health, as well as helps prevent certain problems, from depression to Alzheimer’s disease.
For example, a recent British study found that 2/3 of people who do not have mental health problems eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit every day. On the other hand, about more than ½ of people who do have mental health problems do not consume vegetables and fruits regularly. If you’re skeptical, let’s look at the role of good nutrition in connection to certain mental health problems.
Forgetfulness and memory loss is perhaps the most marked symptoms of this disease. Those who may forget a thing or two might just need a memory booster, but those who have Alzheimer’s in their family have a higher chance of getting it when they get older. However, there are some foods that have been shown to increase the chances of getting this disease.
There are some foods that can slow down Alzheimer’s, but certain foods can actually prevent it. For example, eating a lot of vegetables can help be a memory booster for regular people, but those who actually have history of Alzheimer’s disease in their family should eat a lot of vegetables to prevent it. On the other hand, eating a lot of unsaturated fat can actually increase the chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Several studies have linked certain types of nutrients with those people who have depression. Studies of populations across the world have found that countries that don’t eat a lot of fish have higher incidences of depression than those who do. There are also certain types of foods (like folic acid, omega03 fatty acids and selenium) that have been proven to decrease the symptoms of depression. Low levels of vitamins C, B1, B2, and zinc have also been found in those who suffer from depression.
Overall, following a balanced healthy diet that’s composed mostly of vegetables and fruits, some protein and carbohydrates and very little fat and sugar is not only good for your body, but for your mind too. If you are prone to certain mental diseases, then you should consult your physician as to what you can do to prevent or slow down the signs, whether it’s medication, exercises, or eating certain foods.
Finally while a healthy nutritional diet can help recovery, it should run alongside other treatments recommended by your doctor.