Why Nutrition Is One Of The Healing Factors For Mental Conditions?

Nutrition and Mental Health

Living in a critical society, we often tend to hide away our mental health problems or turn away from someone who is suffering from it. Mental condition is a very serious problem which should be taken care off at the earliest. Ignoring or refusing to treat it at the right time harms the mind and body. Right intervention along with healthy nutrition will help in optimal treatment.

nutrition and mental health

Mental health is one of the leading cause of suicides in the world. Suicides, sudden deaths and homicides have shot up high in the recent years. Increased access to media and the inability to control our anger/ reflexes are a few reasons for such increase. Sudden changes in behavior is a classic sign of mental health issues and should be treated as an emergency alarm, and should be acted upon quickly.

Best Nutrition for Mental Health

Apart from all the counselling sessions and family support intervention, as per the best nutritionist in Delhi nutrition plays a major role in treating mental health. Food is a major part of our emotion. As humans, we love our food and over the years we have developed an unbreakable love and bond for our comfort foods. Be it a birthday, wedding, heartbreak, baby shower, or even menstrual cramps, all of us have that one comfort food that helps us uplift our moods and feel better.

Mental illnesses are of many types. These can include ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Autism, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), etc. A detailed study of diets of people suffering with mental illness has shown poor dietary intakes including unhealthy and oily foods with no nutritional value. This causes reduced production of the hormone “Serotonin” or the “Happy Hormone”. This induces the state of depression and unfulfillment in that person.

3 ways in which diet can impact mental health include:

  • Brain Development: Consuming healthy food helps in building our body, producing enzymes and brain tissues for right functioning of the body.
  • Brain Growth: Certain foods like omega 3 fatty acids help in brain growth which aids in positive brain cells connection. On the contrary, high saturated fat foods causes negative impact on the brain.
  • Healthy Gut Bacteria: Gut and brain work hand in hand. A healthy gut promises a healthy brain as the gut germs help making some necessary B Vitamin for the brain.

Nutritional requirements for people with mental health includes the following as mentioned below:

Carbohydrate: Consuming carbohydrates, which are natural polysaccharides helps in increasing insulin which in turn increases blood sugar levels. This blood when moves to all parts of the body and also triggers the enzyme tryptophan which effects the neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Consuming low GI foods provide little but lasting effect on brain function and energy levels, but consuming high GI foods provide instant energy but temporary relief.

Proteins: Proteins help building up the body. Their simpler forms called Amino acids together form protein. Not all essential amino acids can be synthesized by the body hence good nutrition helps provide the body with these amino acids.  Amino acids form the base of building neurotransmitters for brain function. For example: the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are made up of amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine respectively. Decrease in any of these amino acids can cause bad mood or aggression in that person. On the contrary, higher levels of amino acid build up will also cause mental retardation and brain damage.

Fats: Fats, especially omega 3 and omega 6 are essential for brain development. Decrease in these essential fatty acids can increase problems in mental health. Approx. 50% of the grey matter of the brain consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA is a long chained PUFA and Arachidonic acid (AA), has been shown to decrease depression. DHA and AA cannot be synthesized by mammals, and so has to be supplied from external sources to the body.


  • In a study done in Neuropsychobiology, supplementation of the 9 Vitamins, 10 times their RDA, for a course of one year has shown to improve mood in both men and women. This was particularly due to improved status of B2 and B6.
  • Vitamin B1 helps in modulating cognitive performance in elderly people.
  • Vitamin B12 have indicated delayed signs of Dementia if administered before the onset of initial symptoms.
  • Lower folate levels predispose to depression. Patients with depression have been observed to have 25% low folate levels as compared to healthy individuals.


  • Iodine is important for mental health. It ensures the metabolism of energy in the brain cells.
  • Iron is important for oxygenation and energy production if the cerebral tissues for synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin. Deficiency of iron during pregnancy is associated with disturbance of cognitive function in fetus.
  • According to best nutritionist in Chennai, women are twice as prone to depression as compared to men. This is seen from the age of puberty until the age of 45. This establishes a connection of iron deficiency with mental health in women.
  • Zinc helps to reduce body’s stress. According to a few studies, people with clinical depression have shown low levels of zinc. Intervention research have shown that oral zinc influences antidepressant therapy.

Diet does not replace medication and vice-versa. Medication along with a nutritious and healthy diet will help in faster and better recovery. Also, healthy nutrition will help maintain good health over a longer period of time. As mentioned before, food is a part of our emotion, so eating healthy will help keep our minds healthy.

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Nikki Cross

hi i am Nikki Cross. I am freelance content writer and blogger. I love to erite and read content about various niche such as health, lifestyle, business, finance and sports.