The Dietary Patterns Vs. Mental Health

2 minutes

What’s that?

The Dietary pattern nowadays consists of the ‘Western Diet’ which is nothing but the processed food. This, interestingly, increases the chance of mental illness.

Ok, now why is that?

The more you eat Mediterranean food or let’s just say the prudent diet, the lower the risk of depression. Not one study so far shows that the western diet is good for you and yet, we all seek to have instant foods, which is easy to make and take away isn’t it?

Basically, high in fresh food and veggies, fish, high in fat, nuts and low processed food help reduce the risk of depressive symptoms.

What our grandparents used to cook many years ago they seemed to have been a healthy diet being followed. Why? There was no food which was processed at that time. Everything was cooked from scratch. Today, everything we eat is made easily, and people don’t seem to know its implications on mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and much more.

The intake of our foods today is the key to our  wellbeing. Some of the top nutrients needed today in our diets which help reduce mental illnesses include:

  • Foods containing Omega 3 Fatty acids have proven to decrease the symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, ADHD etc. This is because omega 3 in foods, basically fish oil allows to support chemical imbalances, which affect our moods, also increasing our memory and learning.
  • Likewise, lean protein sources such as eggs, fish, and beans help serotonin levels which are usually associated with depression help be balanced. This helps reduce those depressive symptoms and improve overall cognitive functioning.
  • Even better and simpler: “Leafy greens”, such as turnips, spinach, mustard greens and broccoli are so high in folic acids help fight fatigue, insomnia and other aspects of depression.
  • The ‘good bacteria’, that is the gut bacteria, which is prebiotics, may also be linked to better mental health. Prebiotic foods which include whole grains, artichokes, asparagus, bananas, garlic, onions, chicory root and yogurt, help gut microbes synthesize most of the body’s serotonin in the food we consume.

Now do you feel you have heard these somewhere? Sounds familiar? Let’s go back to the basics of the food pyramid.

nutrients and mental health

This means, people with mental illness need to take extra care with their intakes. Particularly because when under a lot of medications,  it is important to take charge on what nutrients are helpful for your body and which may reduce the effects that may have on your mental health.

Feel free to talk to a psychologist at YourDOST

Niki Rajan

Mental Health Counsellor, Certified Counsellor from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, MSc Psychotherapy & Counselling.