Nutritional Psychiatry: The Next Big Frontier In Mental Health

Food can be your best friend or worst enemy, depending on your medical conditions. There is an evident association between dietary propensities and one’s mood. Studies have shown a direct relation between the two attributes. For instance, it has been shown that a drop in energy level leads to increased levels of irritability in most people.

Recent information from research studies recommend that diet and nourishment are not just important for human physiology and body composition, yet additionally affect state of mind and mental prosperity.

While the deciding elements of emotional well-being are intricate, expanding proofs show a solid relationship between a malnutritional eating routine and the worsening state of mental disorders, including anxiety and depression, just as other neuropsychiatric conditions.

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According to a psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University, “Traditionally, we haven’t been trained to ask about food and nutrition. But diet is potentially the most powerful intervention we have. By helping people shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders.”

Mental disorders have been on the rise in recent years. Almost 1 in 4 Americans show signs of mental illness every year. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by the end of this year, depression will be the second leading condition, after heart disease.

Studies have shown that “the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet, or what we call the Western diet, to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet. The risk of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) doubles”.

Felicia Jacka, ‘president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research’, talked about the subject, saying, “A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health. A healthy diet is protective, and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.”

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In numerous examinations, individuals who don’t have a solid eating routine were bound to report indications of depression or other psychological well-being issues. There seems, by all accounts, to be some relationship between specific supplements in food and mental prosperity. These supplements incorporate folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin D, omega-3 unsaturated fats, magnesium and tryptophan.

How the process works is through Serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls sleep, appetite, moods and feeling of pain. About 95% of the neurotransmitter is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with millions of nerve cells, allowing you guide your emotions through the food you eat.

The 2015 – 2020 dietary guidelines published by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, show that a healthy diet should include:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Whole grains
  • Limited sodium, saturated fat and sugar intake
  • Lean protein

All the above foods contain the exact nutrients required for a healthy functioning brain.

Studies have looked at conventional diet plans, similar to the Mediterranean eating routine and the customary Japanese eating regimen, to an ordinary “Western” diet and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in the individuals who consume a traditional diet. Researchers represent this distinction on the grounds that these conventional diets are generally high in vegetables, organic products, fruits, natural grains and fish.

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