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Nutrition and Mental Health


<p>Mental health is front of mind these days, but just because we tend to focus on it, does not mean that we always know how best to attack it.&nbsp; More and more research has been focused on the correlation between mental health and eating a controlled, nutritious diet.&nbsp; This leaves many feeling as though nutrition is going to be the key to really taking a comprehensive approach to mental health.</p> <p>Is there a connection between nutritional and mental health?</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In a word, yes.&nbsp; Research shows that mental health crises and long-term struggles for dealing with common mental health issues, can be connected to diet.&nbsp; Here is what the research suggests so far:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Highly processed diets are thought to be negative influences:</strong> In this case, the focus is on processed canned food, takeout, and generally unhealthy, and unnatural food sources.&nbsp; When those who are susceptible to potential psychiatric symptoms have these kinds of diets, their symptoms are more likely to pop up sooner and stronger.&nbsp; An unhealthy diet is thought to be a trigger.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Natural and unprocessed diets can be preventative:</strong> On the other hand, eating a natural-based diet such as one loaded with minerals, nutrients, omega-3s, and actually naturally soured versions (aka a Mediterranean diet), is thought to actually work preventatively.&nbsp; Even those who are considered to be susceptible to common disorders, such as depression and anxiety, a balanced and healthy diet can help prevent those symptoms from appearing and even put off any kind of onset until later years.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Diet can be a helping support for long-term health:</strong> Then there is the fact that a proper diet is also going to correspond to better long-term health physically and emotionally.&nbsp; This means that even those who are dealing with more &ldquo;severe&rdquo; issues, such as moderate or severe depression, can find relief in a carefully controlled, natural-based diet.</li> </ul> <p>Diet factors in more than just food type</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The other main detail that is coming out of the research specific to nutrition&#39;s role in mental health support and treatment, is that the diet itself should be acknowledged as far as more than just the food focus itself.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; For instance, a diet should be also controlled in the amount or portion, the number of meals per day, the timing and separation of those meals, and the variation between each meal (for nutritional purposes as well as taste and enjoyment).&nbsp; When someone eats a proper, satisfying diet, those results also help boost mental health.</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; As well, switching from a natural to a processed diet can negatively impact our mental health, even if you were previously symptom-free.&nbsp; A sudden shift to an irregular, processed and unhealthy diet can bring symptoms forward quickly.&nbsp; Additionally, it can often combine as a comorbidity with obesity and other physical problems in the body, adding more &ldquo;fuel to the fire&rdquo; for mental and physical health long-term.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Without question, there is a connection between mental health symptoms and quality of life, and a proper, natural, healthy diet.&nbsp; As more research is done, it is thought that diet-based intervention can help offer up both prevention and treatment of many of the all-too-common mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.</p>