Nutrition plays a vital role in your overall well-being. Proper nutrition isn’t only necessary for your physical health; it’s an important part of your mental health, too. There is a deep connection between nutrition and healing that everyone should understand.
Your brain works constantly around the clock to control the various functions throughout your body. Whether you’re awake or asleep, your brain is active and carrying out all its necessary duties. It needs a regular supply of nutrients to perform its job properly and it draws these nutrients from the things you eat.
People often look at food in relation to their physical appearance but underestimate its effects on their mental state. The food you eat doesn’t only impact your body composition, though. It impacts your mindset, too. If you don’t eat the right kinds of foods, your mental performance suffers.
Nutrition is a crucial component when it comes to your mental health. If you suffer from mental illness, taking your nutrition into account can make a massive difference. You can use foods to your benefit when you understand the connection between nutrition and healing.
Food is Fuel
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Food is fuel”, before. Think about how top athletes eat clean diets to fuel their performance. Professional football or basketball players aren’t eating a ton of processed foods if they want to play their best. Their diet consists of whole foods that are high in essential nutrients to support their athletic abilities.
The same idea applies when it comes to your mental well-being. If most of the foods you eat aren’t very nutritious, your brain won’t have much to work with. Think about how you feel the day after eating a lot of processed foods or foods high in sugar. They likely leave you feeling sluggish and slow both physically and mentally.
Another way to look at food is to see it as a set of instructions you give to your body. Food contains different nutrients that are responsible for various functions in your brain and body. Your body won’t do well at completing the tasks it needs to complete if you give it poor instructions. It’s going to do a much better job at handling what it needs to handle when you give it detailed instructions.
You need a variety of vitamins and minerals to fuel your brain and body effectively. This means you need a diverse diet that supplies you with all the necessary nutrients. Whole foods like fruits and vegetables aren’t only recommended because of their effects on your physical appearance. They contain the wide profile of nutrients your body needs!
Nutritional Psychiatry: An Emerging Field
Thousands of studies show the connection between poor nutrition and a variety of negative health effects. Both overeating and undereating, as well as eating foods that lack nutrients, put you at risk of many types of disease. Diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease are just a few of the conditions that may develop as a result of poor nutrition.
Researchers are looking into the effects of nutrition on your mental health now, too. For example, a few studies reveal a correlation between the effects of eating lots of refined sugars on brain function. They also found that these diets made symptoms of mood disorders worse, such as depression and anxiety.
If proper nutrition is an important part of taking care of your physical health it only makes sense that it’s important for your mental health, too. The medical community hasn’t always considered the connection between your food and your mind but that’s changed over the past decade. Nutritional psychiatry is an emerging field in the world of mental health treatment.
Research on Nutrition and Mental Health
People are well aware of the connection between poor nutrition and physical ailments. Knowledge regarding the relationship between nutrition and mental illness has grown over the past decade or so. Researchers have made massive strides in their understanding of how different foods affect a person’s mental well-being.
Many Americans consume diets that lack essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that people who suffer from mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, typically have severe nutrient deficiencies caused by poor diet.
Research also shows that mental illness associated with poor nutrition isn’t only a result of eating primarily sugary foods, either. People with mental illness exhibit multiple food patterns that contribute to their nutrient deficiencies and worsened symptoms. Skipping meals and low appetite are two more of these common food behaviors.
Ultimately, increasing evidence points to the importance of a well-rounded diet when trying to manage mental illness. Researchers insist that the foods you eat have a direct impact on your mood and mental state. If you’re trying to ease your symptoms of mental illness, what are some good adjustments to make to your diet?
Two Basic Foods Tips You Can Use to Boost Your Mood
Making use of the connection between nutrition and healing is a great way for anyone struggling with conditions like depression and anxiety. There are many different ways you can make changes to your nutrition to relieve some of your symptoms. The following tips will give you a simple idea of how to start.
Focus on Consuming Whole Foods
As you start learning about the relationship between nutrition and healing, you’ll read about the importance of consuming whole foods. But what are whole foods exactly? They are foods that are minimally processed, meaning they’re as close as possible to their natural state. These include foods like:
- Whole grains
The more whole foods you eat, the easier it is to get the nutrients you need.
Cut Back on Highly Processed Foods
Many of the foods available today are processed to at least some extent. Minimal processing, like ensuring the safety of perishable items, is alright. Concerns arise with highly processed foods, though, which dominate the diets of the majority of Americans. Processed foods are popular for their convenience but also contain far fewer nutrients than whole foods. These include foods like:
- Ready-made meals
- Canned food
Avoiding processed foods entirely might be almost impossible but focusing more on consuming whole foods is a great way to cut back on them.
Nutrition is a Tool, Not a Cure
Although making adjustments to your diet is a helpful way to lessen some symptoms, nutrition is not a cure. The connections between nutrition and healing are useful but you shouldn’t use it as the only method to manage your mental illness. Trying to manage your symptoms through nutrition alone could lead to potentially harmful results.
Using nutrition in conjunction with other treatment methods will provide the best results possible. Mental health treatment facilities like Pasadena Villa incorporate nutrition as one of many methods to provide patients with a well-rounded, comprehensive program.
If you’re struggling to manage your mental illness, seeking more intensive treatment can help. Pasadena Villa offers multiple levels of care to fit the needs of anyone who needs assistance. Whether you’ve attended treatment before or you’re looking to find a solution for the first time, we’re here for you. Get in touch with us today and let us know what we can do for you!