A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Mind

March 16, 2011

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Photo: Courtesy of nuchylee

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables…who would think those have anything to do with keeping a healthy mind? A great deal of research shows that deficiency in vitamins and essential nutrients can have harmful effects on the body, yet often they are not associated with mental health. Interestingly, there is research proven to support the fact that diets deficient in vitamins such as C, D and B vitamins, as well as protein can cause symptoms of depression or other mental health illnesses.

In an article on Nutrition and Mental Health, the author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones describes that a lacking diet can have a negative effect on general mood and mental energy.  In addition to vitamins, Dr. Annemarie Colbin also suggests that individuals not consuming enough protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids have the potential for increased negative moods. Surprisingly, the article suggested that protein was the best choice for keeping energy up, controversy to the job often associated with carbohydrates. However, what the article is highlighting is specific forms of protein and carbohydrates that may help to increase energy and keep emotion upbeat.

Not only is a high intake of carbohydrates through sugars/sweets unhealthy for your body in other ways, but it can also lead to mood swings, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. On the other hand, and also supported by research in the Nutrition Journal, whole grain carbohydrates or proteins from Omgea-3’s such as fish can reduce such symptoms. Therefore, to keep your energy up, keep a balanced and healthy diet. Be sure to include a wide variety of nutrient rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains such as rice and pasta, proteins (animal or plant), and healthy fats. Try to keep the sugar consumption down especially if the winter blues have you feeling a little down!

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