Nutrition For Mental Health

One of the most commonly overlooked precursors to mental health challenges, particularly depression, is the impact and effect that our dietary choices have on how we feel mentally and physically. Over 150 million of us are sadly affected by depression, and in the most extreme cases the symptoms can almost disable us because we have so little motivation to participate in life.

Medically, we are given the option of turning to antidepressants, but this does not treat causes of depression, only one symptom - low Serotonin uptake in the brain. There are many studies revealing what may ultimately cause depression, and why some are more susceptible than others. This post does not seek to address the subject in its entirety, but to simply offer an alternative / holistic option for those who may want to try something different and start treating low mood from within.

Depression is directly linked with higher than normal levels of inflammation in the body, and what's quite unbelievable is that it is possible to self-induce depression by inducing inflammation.

So can an anti-inflammatory approach to nutrition alleviate low mood symptoms? The answer is yes, absolutely.

Highly inflammatory foods include sugar, refined grains, meat (particularly processed or red), dairy products and alcohol. If you consume reasonable amounts of the aforementioned, removing these from your diet should dramatically lower your inflammation markers within 2 weeks - providing you keep everything else the same.

The most well-researched natural anti-inflammatory is probably Omega-3, which many of us rely on oily fish for. Here is the spanner in the works though - fish is PRO-inflammatory, meaning that fish oil for omega-3 is not optimal for reducing inflammation contrary to popular belief. In contrast, plant based Omega 3 from seaweed is the better option for reducing inflammation so if you really want the best from your supplements, always choose plant based for Omega 3.

Written by Katie McIntosh