Nutrition Tips for Mental Health

Morgan Spurlock is famous for his documentary ‘Super Size Me,’ an investigation into how diet impacts mental and physical health. He set out on a journey for a month to eat only McDonald’s food three times a day and nothing else. During this time, he constrained all physical activity to the national average. In just a month’s time, Spurlock’s health declined significantly to the point where doctors became concerned for his wellbeing. Nutrition is an important aspect of mental and physical health. Learn more about why this is the case and how good nutrition can benefit us all in the long run.

 

Diet & Health

Over the past several years, the health of Americans has declined as the consumption of fast food and a poor diet has increased. Life is more fast-paced and dependence on convenient food rather than home cooked meals has led to an increased diet of sugars, refined carbs and empty calories. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in America, 43.8 million people, experience mental illness each year. There may be a strong connection to diet and mental health.

 

Food-Mood Connection

Severe deficiencies of important nutrients can have a long lasting on a person’s overall health. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, amino acids and minerals are important for treating symptoms of mental illness as well as physical ailments. The following are some important nutrients to add into a person’s diet to boost mood and health.

Protein

A diet high in protein includes all vital amino acids which exert significant influence over brain function and mental health. Neurotransmitters in the brain consist of amino acids but a lack thereof can lead to inadequate synthesis of important neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, associated with low and aggressive moods.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Approximately 50 percent of gray matter in the brain consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These cannot be synthesized and must be acquired through diet. It is important to boosting a person’s brain and body function by incorporating foods and supplements for better overall functioning.

 

Vitamins

The following vitamins are critical for optimal brain and body functioning:

  • B-complex can help enhance mood in men and women (vitamin B2 and B6)
  • Vitamin B12 can ward off dementia and blood abnormalities. Adolescents with a borderline level of vitamin B12 deficiency may face signs of cognitive changes.
  • Folate levels have been noticed in persons with depression. Low levels of folate can have poor results with antidepressant therapy.

 

Minerals

The following minerals are an important part of a healthy, overall diet.

  • Calcium for stronger bones and lower blood pressure
  • Iron is needed for fetal development and low levels are noted in children with ADD or ADHD. Anemia is also linked to lethargy, depression and fatigue
  • Zinc can support a person doing antidepressant therapy or is battling chronic depression

 

Nutrition and supplementation are important for individuals struggling with mental illness. Contact  Hired Power to find out how we can help support your journey to recovery with resources on health, nutrition and a holistic perspective on recovery from addiction.

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