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Mental Health and Nutrition

Feb 15
There’s no denying the brain is the epicentre of our operations. That being said, the brain takes up about 20% of your daily calorie intake (around 300 calories) just from thinking and keeping the rest of the body working!
To keep your brain working well, it follows that the food we eat and the quality of the food we eat can affect how the brain works. Just like a top of the line luxury car that cranks and groans if you don’t give it premium gas, your brain can also suffer if the only fuel it gets is low quality junk food.

Studies have shown that your gut bacteria, the microbiome that live in the intestines, have a strong influence in your health. Some studies show that when people take probiotics (supplements or food that contain good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improved in comparison to people who did not take probiotics.

Other studies have also looked at the relationship between diets such as the Mediterranean diet and Japanese diet to a “Western” diet consisting of more fast foods and processed breads. Those eating more traditional diets that have fermented foods and more natural probiotics were shown to have 25% to 3% lower risks of depression compared to a typical “Western” diet.

These results imply that in order to take care of our mental health, we need to pay closer attention to the types of food we eat. Adding more probiotics and good bacteria to our diet can help with the amount of inflammation in the body and help improve your energy and mood. This doesn’t mean you have to cut all other foods out – the truth is change takes time and it may not always be possible to eat healthy at every meal. Instead, start paying attention to the food you eat and then how that can affect how you feel over time. Trying to change up your staples each week can give you a sense of which foods your body needs and what foods make you feel heavy and mentally tired.

Full Article Link: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Nutrition-and-Mental-Health-1.aspx

Kathleen Qu, M.Sc

Kathleen Qu is the Product Manager of FeelingBetterNow. She has a background in global health and policy research. She is an advocate in breaking down barriers for mental health access.