Psycho-nutrition is imperative in today’s pandemic era. Most talk is about being physically active to improve our immunity. The missing link to overall health is now connected, i.e., mental nutrition. It is pertinent that a deficient nutrition diet results in a major contribution to the development of diseases and can lead to serious health conditions. But nowadays, due to the “new normal” stage in everyone’s life, which is turned bizarre for most of us, thankfully, mental health is in concern and is associated with nutrition.
Mental Health is pivotal to spend better quality of life. When we talk about being physically active, the master of your body is the super brain which works 24*7 for us continuously. Psycho-nutrition studies the relation between food and mind. Good nutritional status is connected to superior brain development, which helps clear cognitive function, leading to positive mood alterations.
It is proved that one of the factors affecting mental health is DIET. It sounds strange to accept. Right? The impact of food is not just bounded to our overall wellness but in specific mental illnesses too!
Nutrition For A Good Mental Health
Several different elements come into play that affects our mental health. It’s just when we hear someone is really sad, gone into anxiety- depression issues, we conclude it by saying – “Don’t worry, everything will be alright.” But, without correcting nutritional deficiencies, all therapies will be vague. Here, we’ll take a look at how food and mood are interrelated.
Carbohydrates (carbs) are the brain’s primary source of fuel. When there’s a lack of energy for the brain to be utilized, one feels weak, and the brain tends to be foggy. When blood sugar falls rapidly, there comes irritability and anxiety.
Proteins contain amino acids, which are their building blocks. They are the regulators of our thoughts and feelings. Ensuring protein requirements through the diet provides help to our emotions.
Healthy fats are necessary for our brain to work efficiently, especially omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as our brain is around 60% fat, which helps to communicate efficiently through neurons.
Vitamins and minerals deficiency can harm if not efficiently met. Inadequacy can lead to being weak, tired, constant fatigue, irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and frequent negative thoughts.
Essential Nutrients Needed
- Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) – needed for neuronal membranes.
- Folic acid – helps in cognitive functions.
- Vitamins (E, Thiamine, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Pyridoxine) – relieves stress and depression.
- Magnesium and zinc – for learning and memory.
- Antioxidants – reduces oxidative stress.
- Flavonol (Quercetin) – reduces cognitive fatigue.
- Water – facilitates signal pathway, reduces inflammation, nutrient delivery, and removes toxins.
Unfortunately, with all the trendy fad diets coming into fashion these days, importance is given to shedding extra kilos without even thinking of the micro-nutrients that affect their mental health.
There is a communication network called the Gut-brain axis that connects the gut and brain. It is connected via the vagus nerve, which helps in sending signals and neurotransmitter chemicals. These produce many other chemicals that affect the brainpower, control our emotions and inflammation too. Now you must know why we tend to search for food when we feel butterflies in our stomachs!
“Good Mood often comes with Good Food.”
It’s not just we crave a bar of chocolate for a good mood. There are scientifically proven strategies for why it is so. And this is because it proves a connection of Diet-Mental Health Relationship (DMHR).
Spinach, coconut, almonds, avocado, bananas, berries, pineapple, oranges, dark chocolates, and green tea are some of the known “Happy Foods.”
Supporting Psychic Health
“Digital therapy” is nowadays booming due to increased awareness of people aiming for good health, physically and mentally. The number of apps is now controlling our lives just with a click of a button. Live and free consultations promoting Laughter classes, yoga, meditation, diet consultations, Zumba, home-workouts, spiritual programs, and free webinars helped enormously bring peace of mind, thereby relieving frustration stress. It is not just the psychiatrists that come into play when we need help psychologically.
Let’s not World Mental Health day be a single day of awareness. It is our prime duty to keep ourselves, our family, and the community as a whole to bring a smile to our faces.
It is, therefore, of utmost importance to cater to the needs for mental health too! And hence, it is rightly said –
“If you take care of your mind, you can take care of the world.”