We caught up with Salisbury Health Hero Amie Richmond from Body Fabulous to talk about the impact nutrition has on our mental health.
Balance Is Key - Nutrition For Mental Health
With 1 out of 7 of us suffering from depression symptoms at some point in our lives, mental health is fast becoming a pressing health concern. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will become the second most prevalent disease worldwide by the year 2020.
Antidepressants however are not the only option, as we increasingly look to diet and supplements for a more natural solution.
"1 out of 7 of us will suffer from depression symptoms at some point in our lives"
My Top Tips For Improving Mental Health With Holistic Nutrition
What to Include -
This may sound obvious but restricting certain nutrients can massively affect our mood. It is important to make sure you have all your macro nutrients so ensure lean proteins, carbohydrates and good fats are all incorporated into your diet. Eat foods that support your neurotransmitters, which are the brain’s messengers that control your mood and energy levels. These include Omega-3 rich foods such as wild salmon, mackerel or herring as well as nuts & seeds and eggs. Don’t fancy any of these foods? Don’t panic you can take a supplement instead!
A diet high in fruits and vegetables increases your intake of vital nutrients that support your mood. Fruits and veggies high in folate, promote the brain’s metabolic processes so you should include foods like spinach, asparagus, avocado, beetroot and broccoli. Eating probiotic foods is also a great step forward as they increase energy levels, support cognitive function and promote mental wellness. Some of the top probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut.
And finally, don’t forget your vitamins! Research has shown great mental health benefits from taking Vitamins B12 & D3.
"Stick to real, whole foods that are in their natural forms"
"Try not to consume more than 30g of sugar per day"
What to avoid
Refined carbohydrates and sugars such as those found in crisps and chocolate, trigger a release of serotonin which does improve your mood….but only for the moment. The side effect to these foods are weight gain, issues with sleep and low energy levels, therefore making your depression symptoms worse in the long run.
Diets that are high in refined sugars are actually harmful to your brain because they promote inflammation and oxidative stress.
To reduce depressive symptoms, avoid eating packaged and processed foods that are made with refined carbohydrates and sugars. Stick to real, whole foods that are in their natural forms. Try not to consume more than 30g of sugar per day, check out the ‘Change 4 Life’ app to help you track how much sugar you are consuming https://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/food-scanner-app.aspx
By Amie Richmond, Senior Nutritionist at Body Fabulous