A few years ago, I found myself unusually anxious and depressed. I was lethargic, crying, unmoved by fear and shame. Since there were no obvious triggers, I decided to do a blood test to rule out anything physiological. I knew the impact could not be ameliorated.
When my results came back, I was relieved to see a potential problem clearly.I was deficient in vitamin D, a micronutrient essential for mental health. I started drinking and within a few weeks my chronic shame and fear was reduced (to my daily New Yorker neuroses).
Unfortunately, most mental health professionals (including doctors) are not taught to screen for nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances as possible reasons for mental health problems. They tend to support prescriptions of psychotropic drugs with heavy side effects without requiring lab work or looking into supplements first.
As someone who helps clients from all angles to optimize their mental health, the rest of this article will focus on the powerful role diet plays in mental health and how to eat in a way that is optimally set for you. Focus on how you can be sure that Mood, concentration, sleep. Specifically, we will discuss the importance of: Nutrients that boost mood; Balanced microbiome (gut); stable blood sugar; When foods that reduce inflammation.
1. Supplement with these mood-enhancing nutrients
The supplement industry is over $71.8 billion, and most medical experts agree that you don’t need to swallow dozens of herbal capsules in the morning. But even those who follow our favorite biohacking podcaster diet can be prone to deficiencies that can lead to mental health challenges.In some cases, this can be limiting or An imbalanced diet may be to blame. However, repeated studies show that, in fact, our food is significantly less nutritious than that of our parents. The pressure to grow more crops faster. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and the animals that meat eaters eat have low amounts of the essential nutrients that humans rely on for their (mental) health.
Therefore, we recommend that you consider the following supplements in addition to your various diets.
Vitamin D deficiency affects approximately 42% of the US population. Knowing that deficiencies affect mental health, we can imagine the same demographics navigating suboptimal mental health effects. I consulted Dr. Ashley Jordan Ferrira, Ph.D., RDN, and VP of Scientific Affairs for Supplements at Mindbodygreen.
“Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in our country, and its impact on our mental health is significant,” she confirmed. and positively link this nutrient to mood, emotional and mental health.”
Vitamin D is produced by sun exposure and is naturally found in fatty fish, mushrooms and egg yolks, but it’s very difficult to get enough without supplements.
Dr. Raghu Appasani, PYM’s in-house psychiatrist, explored the importance of several mood-enhancing nutrients. Founded by Zach Williams (son of the late Robin Williams), his PYM manufactures supplements that “prepare the mind” to deal with the daily stressors and life events that take their toll on mental health.
“Several studies have shown that taking methylated B-complex (vitamins) can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.” It works with enzymes to help produce important neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is key to regulating mood and mental health.
Places where B vitamins are found naturally include meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products, seeds, leafy greens and fortified cereals.
“The body actually relies on magnesium to convert vitamin D into its active form,” explains Aleks Chojnacka of Functional Nutrition Guide. “In other words, if a blood test reveals vitamin D deficiency, it is often due to a lack of magnesium.”
She emphasized that minerals are also important for the absorption of other essential nutrients, such as B vitamins and potassium.
In addition to supplements, include leafy greens, bananas, avocados, nuts, seeds, legumes, and tofu in your diet to get more magnesium.
of omega 3
“Omega fatty acids have been shown to be the most effective supplements for mood disorders within mental health,” Appasani explains. It has been shown to be effective in stabilizing mood and enhancing the effectiveness of conventional antidepressants as a supplemental supplement.”
He continues, omega fatty acids “have also shown anti-inflammatory properties, improving mental health as well as overall health and allowing for improved mood.”
Eat fatty cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies), oysters, flaxseeds and chia seeds to get more omega-3s from your diet.
Countless studies have linked zinc deficiency to anxiety and depression. We determined. Low levels of BDNF are associated with low mood, and the mitigating factor is zinc.
By including oysters, poultry, meats and fortified cereals, you can get more zinc into your diet naturally.
2. Nourishes the gut flora
For decades, we’ve known that anxiety and depression can cause indigestion, but it’s only recently that we’ve come to understand it. Indigestion can cause anxiety and depression“95% of the neurotransmitter receptors that control our mood are actually in our gut. [versus our brain]explains psychologist and anxiety expert Becky Beaton-York. In other words, if our gut is not healthy and balanced, neither is our mind.
Mindbodygreen’s Ferira explains more about the relationship between the microbiome and mental health. The microbes that live in our gut communicate directly with the brain and produce neurotransmitters that affect everything from sleep quality to mood and more. ”
We recommend taking a probiotic supplement daily and including probiotic-rich foods in your diet (probiotic yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, etc.).
3. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
Inflammation is associated with most chronic diseases, from cancer to heart disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Mental illness is no exception. Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder are all associated with increased levels of inflammation. Studies show that our diet contributes to inflammation, and following an anti-inflammatory diet can help both prevent and manage disease.
Experts recommend following a diet of whole foods, with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, nutrient-rich fish, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and unhealthy fats. or should be avoided.
Finally, there’s the misconception that gluten and dairy cause inflammation. However, this only applies to people who are gluten or dairy intolerant. Despite your desires, you don’t have to avoid the bread basket (or cheese plate) unless you have sensitivities or allergies.
4. Eat to Balance Blood Sugar
Most of us have experienced “hunger” at some point, such as irritability or low mood caused by low blood sugar.
Blood glucose monitoring has become commonplace in the wellness field as compelling research has emerged showing links between blood glucose trends and health. A company that provides comprehensive glucose monitoring that helps customers better understand how their eating patterns affect their mood, sleep, energy levels, and more. We spoke with Dr. Nicole Avena about the relationship between blood sugar levels and mental health.
“Eating a lot of highly processed foods with added sugars can cause blood sugar levels to drop precipitously,” explained Avena. Depression and mood dysregulation in general. ”
She went on to clarify that the cause of this link is unclear.”Hypoglycemia and anxiety are interconnected, but the exact direction of the relationship is unknown. Anxiety occurs in the body.” By similar biochemical processes. Therefore, having balanced blood sugar levels may set the stage for a more balanced mood.
Familiarize yourself with the glycemic index (GI) of foods you eat regularly, eat every 2-3 hours, and consider continuous glucose monitoring to adjust your diet for balanced blood sugar levels You can better understand how to do it.
Diet is not the only factor to be aware of when it comes to mental health. Sleep, social connection, exercise, self-care, self-compassion, trauma healing, spirituality, career satisfaction, physical and emotional safety and security are many others that determine our psychological health. But what was once dismissed as pseudoscience is now considered fact. What we eat affects our emotions and everyone should be empowered to improve their mental health with this information.