The Best Diet For Mental Health

What Is the Best Diet for Mental Health?

New research exploring the connection between the foods we eat and our feelings of depression, anxiety, and happiness.

Should you eat an apple—or a bag of Oreo's? Go to McDonald’s—or the vegetarian restaurant on the corner?
When we make these everyday food choices, many of us think first of our physical health and appearance. But there’s another factor we may want to consider in picking foods: their impact on our mental health. Don't get me wrong, theirs nothing wrong with having a burger and fries I'm simply wanting to make aware of how healthy food can benefit you! 
A growing body of research is discovering that food doesn’t just affect our waistline but also our moods, emotions, and even longer-term conditions like depression. Which makes sense, after all. Our brains are physical entities, running on the energy that we put into our bodies, affected by shifts in our hormones, blood sugar levels, and many other biological processes.
Although there are many unanswered questions, the research to date can give us some guidance when we’re hunting for an afternoon snack. What we know so far can be summed up, more or less, as this: Whole-food diets heavy on the fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed protein can lift our moods and protect us from depression, while too much junk food and sugar may put our mental health at risk.
One-third of adults in America eat fast food on a given day. Many of us see French fries and chocolate cake as treats to cheer us up when we’re feeling down. But perhaps our perspective on food needs an update. With a few simple dietary changes, you might be able to improve both your mind and your mood.

Can your diet protect you from depression?

paper published this year in Psychosomatic Medicine offers one of the most up-to-date snapshots of diet and mental health—specifically, how diet might play a role in depression.
The research team scoured academic journals for experiments that had asked people to change their diets and had measured the effects. In all, they found 16 studies with nearly 46,000 participants from the United States, Australia, and Europe, ranging from ages 21 to 85.
The experiments were quite diverse, prescribing a variety of diets to boost nutrient intake, reduce fat intake, or encourage weight loss. One group went on a vegan diet, while others restricted calories; many people loaded up on fruits and vegetables while avoiding meat and processed foods. Some people attended nutrition classes together, while others got personalized counseling or simply took home a set of guidelines. They followed the diet for anywhere from a couple weeks to a few years.
The results? Overall, adopting a healthier diet did lead to reduced symptoms of depression—less hopelessness, trouble sleeping, and disconnection from others—compared to engaging in other self-improvement activities or going about life as usual.
“Including more non-processed foods, more whole foods—fruits, vegetables—is very beneficial in terms of your psychological well-being, particularly mood,” says Joseph Firth, the lead author of the paper and a research fellow at Western Sydney University.
But the results got more interesting when the researchers started to dig into the details, to see for whom and under what conditions our diet might keep the bad feelings at bay.

Who benefits most from a healthy diet?
First off, diet programs tended to work better for women. Why? Besides differences in hormones and metabolism, Firth conjectured, women seem to be in a better position to benefit. They’re more likely to be depressed, and, he says, they might have more discipline at following diets than men.

Also, the diet programs worked better if a dietary professional administered them—probably because the recommendations were sounder and the participants (believing in the dietitian’s authority) were more apt to follow them, Firth says. An earlier review of diet studies came to a similar conclusion.
One of the strongest studies in the collection suggested that diet could help people who were right in the midst of a major depressive episode. Researchers recruited 67 depressed people with poor diets, half of whom were instructed to follow a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet favoring whole grains, fruit and vegetables, legumes, low-fat dairy, nuts, fish, lean red meat, chicken, eggs, and olive oil while reducing sweets, refined grains, fried and fast food, processed meats, and sugary drinks. Across 12 weeks, they attended seven sessions with a dietitian who helped them set diet goals and stay motivated; they also received recipes, meal plans, and a hamper of food.
The other half attended sessions on a similar schedule. But rather than getting diet advice, they simply spent time with a research assistant who was trained to be supportive of them—talking about topics they were interested in, like sports and hobbies, or playing games with them for an hour.
Despite how beneficial social interaction is, the diet group fared better than the social support group. After 12 weeks, they had reduced their depression and anxiety more—and they were about four times more likely to experience a remission from their depression. The more they improved their diet, the more their depression lifted.
What about anxiety? In that particular study, anxiety did go down—but on average, across all 16 studies, healthier diets didn’t seem to make people less anxious. That actually strengthens the case that diet can directly affect depression, says Firth. If the results were simply due to people feeling proud and accomplished with their new healthy habits, you would expect them to feel better all around, including less anxious. The fact that only their symptoms of depression shifted means that something deeper may be going on. 

What could that be? We don’t know for sure yet, but there are a variety of biological processes that seem to be both influenced by diet and involved in mental health. It’s possible that certain diets may increase inflammation and oxidative stress, and disrupt our mitochondrial function and neuron production, in ways that could put us at risk for psychological problems. Our gut microbiome—the colony of microorganisms in our intestines that is increasingly being studied as a contributor to mental health—may interact with many of these processes. Also, says Firth, following a diet can bring us a sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy, as well as potential weight loss—which can influence our minds, too.
But there are still a lot of unknowns. As Professor Almudena Sanchez-Villegas of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria points out, the findings from diet experiments are not consistent. Many of the diet programs in Firth’s review didn’t help alleviate depression, nor did a newer one that also included multivitamins. Researchers have much more to explore.
Overall healthy eating -- fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains -- has been linked in studies to lower risks of depression and even suicideNutrition also influences the immune system, which has been shown to affect the risk of depression, as well.
Try adding these five mood-boosting foods to your daily diet. Here are 5 good foods to consider!

1. Salmon

Salmon is a nutritional powerhouse full of omega-3 fatty acids, a key nutrient that our bodies don't produce on their own.

2. Dark chocolate

A Candy bar may leave you feeling blah after you eat it, but a piece of dark chocolate could give you a mood boost.

3. Berries

Fruits are all good for you as part of a balanced diet, but berries are particularly powerful for the brain.


So a Diet and mental health. There is research to suggest that what we eat may affect not just our physical health, but also our mental health and wellbeing. Eating well (i.e. a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and nutrients) may be associated with feelings of wellbeing.

Be safe 
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Hello, my name is Chris I like to thank you for checking out my blog! So what is the purpose of this blog? My answer to that is helping others have clarity and a peace of mind. While being educated with things and information that can be used in your daily life! So I hope you enjoy. Also please I encourage you to subscribe to the News Steller for updates and other info. Thank you, Chris

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