Diet and exercise. Two of the most frequently discussed topics in health world—with good reason. There are so many results of an unhealthy diet that can be easily addressed with basic correction to nutritional practices.
Mental health is critical to overall wellness. It has been reported that issues with anxiety, depression and even post-partum “baby blues” are on the rise; at least by the number of cases documented by patients seeking medical help who report such issues. The advice patients receive is often to “eat healthy” or “improve your diet” with corresponding advice depending upon what that means to the doctor and patient’s plan. Beyond the basic information passed to the patient of how to improve their diet (less burgers and more veggies isn't exactly groundbreaking news), little more is often explained about why a diet can alleviate so many wellness issues. So what exactly makes a healthy diet have a positive impact on our mental wellness? Our doctors at SCNM have the exact explanation of how what we eat and drink impact our state of mind.
Dr. Elizabeth Rice, ND frequently informs her patients about how important it is to balance nutritional for optimal mental health.
She states, “Our production of neurotransmitters is nutritionally-based and is dependent upon amino acids (protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) obtained from our diet. A diet lacking in these nutrients will certainly predispose someone to mental health concerns or exacerbate an existing mental health concern, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Most Americans consume a standard American diet, devoid of nutrition and high in processed sweeteners, which is catastrophic for balancing neurotransmitters, so changing this is one of the most pivotal steps in achieving optimal mental health. A nutrient-dense diet, full of colorful fruits and vegetables, with frequent servings of omega-3 rich foods and limited sugar intake, is one of the most important steps an individual can take for their mental health.”
Knowing the nuts and bolts of how the body uses what we feed it and how that translates into a good mental state is great motivation to really follow a healthy diet. It is important to remember that what is considered a healthy diet for one person may be different than for another person, but no matter what that “food prescription” may be, if you stick to it, you are more than likely to see improvements in both your physical and mental health. If you’re curious about your state-of-mind and how your current diet might be altered to improve your health, be sure to visit your naturopathic doctor to have a deeper look. You’ll be happy you did!
Note: If you are experiencing serious changes or issues in mental health, be sure to seek immediate help from an appropriate source. Although diet is important for everyone, underlying causes of more serious issues can stem from a variety of situations and should be addressed with a professional’s observation and prescription. For more information on how to quickly find mental health professionals in your area, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). If your symptoms are concerning enough to seek immediate help, never hesitate to call 911.