Dietary Ingredients for Mental Health

There is now strong evidence that diet is one of the main factors that can lead to poor mental health. In particular, poor diet has been linked to anxiety and depression. Therefore, it stands to reason that a healthy high quality diet should not only be protective of mental health, but also reverse any anxiety or depression caused by a poor diet. Such a diet has not been described in its entirety, but studies in humans indicate that the diet should contain a number of factors. Firstly, there needs to be the presence of all essential factors including vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids in the correct proportions. In particular a number of mineral deficiencies including magnesium, chromium, selenium, iron and zinc have been associated with mood disorders. As well as these essential factors, evidence shows that a number of phytochemicals, especially polyphenols, are highly protective of mental health. This may be because they are effective antioxidants, which suggests that the diet should also be high in other antioxidants.

anxiety mood depression

The main cause of poor mental health is undoubtedly stress. Some individuals cope with stress better than others, and these people may be protected from poor mental health by favourable genetic traits. However, a healthy diet is highly protective of poor mental health because it allows individuals to adapt to stress more readily. Adaptogenic herbs such as ginseng, rhodiola and brahmi may also be useful because they decrease the response to stress in humans.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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