Our diet is a significant influence in several aspects of our health.
This includes athletic performance, weigh, and the risk of contracting chronic experiences, for example heart disease. Research has concluded that diet also affects our mental health.
Currently, depression and anxiety are the two most common mental health issues in the world and the WHO (World Health Organisation) have identified that depression is on course to be one of the biggest global health concerns by 2030.
Unsurprisingly, researchers are continually researching new ways to reduce the concerns about mental health instead of depending on current medications and therapies.
A new and emerging research area is nutritional psychology. This topic looks at the part that nutrition plays in the onset and treatment of mental health conditions.
This research looks at how changing your diet can help with your mental health, the effects diet can have on mental health, and identifying the links between nutrition and mental health.
If you have any concerns about your mental health, depression, anxiety, depression and the links between your diet and whether you feel you may require a dual diagnosis, why not contact Action Rehab today?
If you call us today on 0151 268 6992 you find out more about our admissions process, the types of rehab that we offer, information on private drug and alcohol rehab and dual diagnosis, and detoxification. Why not call us for a free consultation?
Diet and Nutrition
Observational studies have determined that there is a link between our diet quality and the risk of suffering with depression.
One study collated 21 different studies from ten countries, and identified that a healthy dietary pattern was linked to reduced risk of suffering with depression. This diet is characterised by an individual eating higher amounts of vegetables, fruit, low fat dairy, olive oil, whole grains, and fish.
Alternatively, a Western diet, that involves higher amounts of processed and red meats, sweets, potatoes, butter, sweets and high fat dairy, is linked to a rather significantly higher risk of suffering with depression. A Mediterranean diet has been linked with as much as a 32% reduced risk of experiencing depression.
Another study looked at the over 50s, and established a link between heightened levels of anxiety when individuals had a diet high in added sugars and saturated fats – and this was also reflected in studies on teenagers and children. However, it’s important to note that observational studies can only demonstrate an association, they are not able to prove any cause and effect.
Ways to improve your Mental Health by changing your diet
Research is ongoing, but the studies we’ve highlighted suggest that there’s a link between what we eat and our mental health.
There are multiple theories based on how diet influences our mood or the risk of developing conditions like anxiety and depression. Scientists are of the view that certain diets have inflammatory effects – and this explains the relationship between mental health and diet.
Many mental health conditions have links to higher levels of inflammation. Diets with higher levels of vegetables, fruits and whole grains are associated with having benefits to mental health, and these foods contain higher levels of anti-inflammatory compounds.
Another explanation could be that your diet can affect the bacteria in your gut, which is often known as the gut microbiome. Research has indicted a link between brain function and gut health – healthy gut bacteria produces in the region of 90% of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter than affects mood.
Because diet plays a key role in the diversity and health of your gut microbiome, this explains how our diet can impact on our mental health.
It may also be a case that those with healthier diets are more likely to engage in exercise, not smoking and having good sleeping habits and these are all positive changes you can make to improve your diet.
What ways can you change your diet?
Moderating your diet can be difficult for a multitude of reasons but making small adjustments can make a huge difference. What may seem like small changes can actually constitute big steps. Having a fruit as a snack, or as part of your breakfast, is one simple way of getting to eat more fruit.
You are also able to adjust the kinds of food you eat. You should try and eat more fish, such as salmon fillets, instead of red meats and this kind of change can provide several benefits, including a more varied diet.
Seek out foods that have higher levels of zinc, Vitamin C, iron, B12 and Omega 3s as adding these to your diet on a regular basis will help to provide your body with the nourishment it requires for a healthier mind.
What happens when you change your diet to improve your Mental Health?
When you start to eat more healthy foods, this will boost your brain’s development. It will also increase the amount of good gut bacteria, which in turn promotes a healthier gut biome and decreases the levels of inflammation in your gut.
It will also raise serotonin levels through a variety of food enzymes and cause changes to brain enzymes and brain proteins to increase the numbers of neural transmitters.
How Action Rehab can help
If you have difficulty with your diet, you might need a period of private drug and alcohol rehab and a detoxification. People having difficulty with substances are also often unable to provide their body with the help it needs for an improved mentality.
You may also be experiencing a mental health condition already; in which case you will require dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis will see your mental health condition treated alongside any other mental health conditions like addiction.
If you are concerned about your mental health, and the impact of diet and nutrition on it, why not contact us today? We can provide you with help over the telephone and offer you with appropriate treatment options via private rehab if you need help with your nutritional needs.
Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2021 at 10:38 am in Mental Health.