The Link Between Good Nutrition And Better Mental Health
Highly developed countries such as the UK have access to a wider variety of foodstuffs than ever before. However, this does not necessarily mean that the people of countries like the UK are well-nourished. On the contrary, many people are not consuming enough nutrients which are essential for good brain health. Many of us are opting for a diet of artificial additives, heavily processed food and high quantities of sugar.
For many years, studies have shown a direct link between poor mental health and nutritional deficiencies. However, psychiatrists are only now becoming aware of the benefits of a healthy diet on mental health. It is now known that many mental health conditions are caused by inflammation in the brain, which in turn causes the brain cells to die. The inflammatory response begins in our gut and is often associated with a lack of nutrients such as magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamins and minerals which are all vital for our bodies to work to their very best. In recent studies, food supplements such as zinc, magnesium, omega 3, and vitamins B and D3 have been shown to improve a persons mood, eliviate stress and improve the mental capacity of people with Alzheimer's.
One of the most important minerals for optimal health is magnesium, however, many people are lacking in it. In one study it was found that a daily supplement of magnesium citrate led to a significant improvement in depression and anxiety.
Another nutrient that is critical for the development function of the central nervous system, is Omega-3 fatty acids. A lack in these nutrients has been associated with low mood, cognitive decline and poor comprehension.
The beneficial live bacteria in your digestive system, also known as probiotics, have a significant effect on your mental health. Studies by nutritionists and psychiatrists have found taking a daily dose of probiotics resulted in a reduction in depression and anxiety. Vitamin B complex and zinc are other supplements found to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Many over-the-counter supplements are available in supermarkets, chemists and online food stores.
The emergence of scientific evidence suggests there should be a bigger role for nutritional psychiatry in mental health rather than simply resorting to antidepressants. The use of food supplements offer an alternative approach that has the potential to make a significant difference to the mental health of all age groups.
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