Nutrition is essential for healthy minds.
Whoever can dispute the absolute necessity to have a healthy mind. I would go as far as to say a healthy mind would rid the society today of its many malice. Psychological wellness a positive mind-set and containment, are all attributes to a good mental health.
Just like it is for your physical health, food -the quantity and quality of what’s consumed has a direct impact on your mental health and well- being. Nutrition essential for good heathy mind
Studies and researches have shown that a good mental health is more important than physical health. We all take care of our physical well-being but rarely do we focus on the mental aspects. A positive mental outlook supports physical strengths in many ways.
Foods we eat, affects how we feel, in other words nutrition is essential for healthy minds.
When we think of boosting our brain power, we think of learning something new. Well the fact is that good nutrition is vital for our mental health and numerous mental health conditions are governed by our dietary habits. Food plays an important role in the development, management and prevention of many mental health conditions like that of depression, hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia and even Alzheimer’s disease.
The feeling of wellness and a balanced mood is a consequence of a diet which provides us with adequate supply of essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fluids. Food-Mood connections are intricate. You may have observed that when you do not take healthy and complete diet you are more likely to experience mood swings and feel low.
A balance diet can help towards a better mental health and it should include;
Fruits and vegetables.
Low –fat dairy and dairy products.
Lean sources of proteins.
Limit amounts of sugar, sodium and saturated fats.
Mind and mental health boosting essential nutrients
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 is helpful and important in reducing inflammation, the main cause for conditions of arthritis, asthma and respiratory disorders and also plays a key role in improving heart condition, by reducing the triglycerides. Omega 3 is instrumental in controlling depressions and has mood stabilizing abilities. It supports the effectiveness of conventional antidepressants.
Food sources: oily fishes (trout, anchovies, salmon and sardines), walnuts, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil and dark green leafy vegetables.
Also known as folic acid, its intake is associated with lowering risks of depression. Especially important for pregnant women, everyone needs folic acid for the proper production and development of cells. It has also positive and important role to play for healthy hairs, skin, nails, eyes, liver and red bold cell production.
Food sources: green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale), nuts, beans, fruits and whole grains have high quantities of folate.
Vitamin D has an all important role to play in Seasonal Affective Disorder, a sort of depression that happens during winter months and goes sway with the onset of spring. In general also the rates of depression are higher in people with vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D helps in the proper absorption of calcium into the body, much needed for strong bones and tooth, the immune system and muscles. Its deficiency has also been related to heart diseases and risks of heart attacks.
Most foods do not have vitamin D naturally. Fatty fishes (salmon and tuna) are natural sources, whereas, milk, breakfast cereals and orange juices have added vitamin D.
Sources: exposing the body to sunlight for about 30 minutes twice a week helps produce enough vitamin D the body needs. People with lighter complexion needs lesser time than them who are darker. Food sources for good supply of vitamin D are fatty fishes, dairy and dairy products, fortified juices and cereals.
Plan your meals considering your mental health.
Food is fuel – we are what we eat. Take note of the kind of foods and drinks that we consume so as to enable our body to physical and mentally function to its optimal capacity.
Breakfast choices: never skip your breakfasts. It is much needed to fuel the whole body including our brain. Skipping it leads to mental and physical fatigue and feeling of ‘brain fog’. After a night long fast it helps in kick starting the body’s metabolism to keep going throughout the day.
Make sure to eat healthy choices and in situations of lack of time and busy schedules a piece of fruit or a granola bar will do.
Lunch and Dinner: ensure that you intake a diet that’s rich in vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (lean meat, poultry, eggs, fish), nuts, fruits and unsaturated fats. People who follow such dietary intakes are 30% less likely to suffer from depression.
Avoid high-fat dairy, fried foods and foods high in refined sugars. In addition of triggering diabetes and weight gain, increases changes of depression and poor mental abilities
Mental health is directly linked to your overall physical health. Mental health or a good healthy mind is far more than merely the absence of mental illness. Mental health problems are often not visible, but the symptoms can be recognized by a specialist and with proper nutrition and professional care can be treated and cured.
Read here about the importance of Breakfast without fear
Written bySheela Seharawat
Sheela Seharawat is a fully qualified dietician. She has been successfully running and managing about 35 Diet Clinic’s around India and has been appreciated with various awards and recognitions for her notable contributions in the field of diet and nutrition. Her aspiration has always been to educate, communicate and helps people live a healthy life through diet and with this aspiration she is aiming to reach out to people with her services across the globe.