Until very recently, the diet was nowhere near to be thought of having any effects on your mental health. But as more and more research looks deeper into it, we now know that it affects our emotions and cognitive ability.
To think your brain is always working, even when sleeping, makes you wonder where it gets the energy from. You don’t need a brainiac to figure out it all comes from the food you eat. However, the important part is what type of fuel it runs on and what happens when it gets a lower quality than that.
Health experts and dieticians have long suspected several food items to enhance brain function. But now that we have much more sophisticated researches conducted, it has become somewhat general knowledge.
Consumption of food items rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is the ultimate brain powering fuels. In contrast, high saturated sugars and fats negatively impact your brain functions. To put it more simply, your mental health is as much a part of your overall health as your physical health. And your diet impacts your cognitive functions as it does your physical abilities.
Diet And Mental Health
Mental health issues have risen exponentially over the past few decades. A lot of it is attributed to the multitude of distractions and over-exposure that we have today. But the more prominent connection is linked directly to diet.
According to past surveys, people following a Mediterranean diet went through a considerably low percentage of mental health issues when compared to the western diet. And even though a strong reason for global mental health issues is deprivation and poverty, diet still happens to be a major contributor in those situations.
It has become a custom in modern psychiatry to consider the dietary intake of a patient. Though it may not directly impact your brain functions, it eventually leads there. A plethora of physical health conditions has a strong connection to mental health issues as well.
Diets that have high amounts of saturated sugars and processed foods lead to several physical health conditions. Obesity and diabetes are the leading scorers, but not all. And recent statistics show a 55% possibility of obesity leading to clinical depression or anxiety. Similarly, people suffering from depression and nearly 60% likely to contract obesity.
This link between physical and mental health shows a direct connection to diet. Unhealthy diets may lead to mental health issues. But, in contrast, healthy diets show promising results in improving the cognitive abilities of individuals.
How Diet Helps Overcome Mental Health Issues
There are more than one ways you can improve your mental health. Sleep regulation, a healthy amount of physical activity, and therapy are the leading forms of recovery. Experts suggest that only making changes to diet also shows significant improvement in mental health conditions.
Your physical fitness affects your confidence, self-esteem, and social anxiety. Especially now that we’re living in a world of aesthetic beauties, comparing yourself to social media appearances has lead to a staggering number of teenage and childhood mental health issues.
And to know that changing your diet changes your appearance, it definitely impacts your confidence and self-esteem as well. Moreover, having an unhealthy diet makes you lethargic and unproductive. And unproductivity surely leads to several forms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
In terms of a layman, if you feed your brain with low-quality fuel, it will never function properly. You are never equipped enough to deal with the daily stressors in life or channel emotions. On the other hand, high-quality fuel from a nutrient-rich diet ensures the proper functioning of your brain.
There are many food items and supplements that enhance improve your mental health. Sticking to a diet that is rich in lean protein, carbs, fatty acids, and leafy greens ensures cognitive growth. But that’s not all, herbal supplements are also known to improve your mental health significantly.
Extracts from hemp are a rising source of medication for mental health illnesses worldwide. Since the approval by medical authorities, medicinal uses of the vape are receiving a lot of attention. Using products with CBD vape cartridges tones down the symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients.
Moreover, wax THC, chamomile tea, cinnamon, and rosemary are also some herbal examples that help improve your mental health.
As tempting as it is, self-medication and diagnosis are not effective ways of recovering from mental health illnesses. You should always consult your therapist before putting all your eggs in one basket and giving dietary changes a go. As I always stress upon, the internet is not a reliable way of diagnosing and receiving health care.
Even though diet plays an important part in recovery from mental health issues, there are always other factors involved. Your childhood, adolescence, life experiences, and traumas are by far the leading sources of any mental health issues.
Other than that, relying upon diet to solely improve your mental health is a good habit to pick up. You can better equip yourself to deal with various mental health issues if you’re mentally healthy.