An unhealthy diet not only affects your physical health but also your mental health. Your brain needs proper nourishment as it accounts for 25 percent of your metabolic demands. But the nourishment can be done with nutrient-rich foods instead of the junk foods.
The type of food we eat affects the functioning of the brain. Most psychiatrists do not tell the role of food as medications only cannot help the person totally. If you are taking talk therapy or medication or both, also try to maintain your physical health it will help you a lot.
Three main neurotransmitters are concerned with your mental health. These are made up of amino acids which we can take from proteins easily. Minerals and vitamins should also be taken in optimal amounts daily as it is critical for the synthesis and normal functioning of the brain.
Here are some of the important nutrients for our mental health :
This acts as vitamin D. it is very important for a healthy thyroid, which is the master of metabolism. Most of us do not get the required amount of iodine as it is largely removed from our food supply. The average intake is about 800 mcg while we take about 138mcg to 350mcg. Good food sources include seaweed, cod and iodized salt. Moderate food sources include milk, yogurt, and eggs.
It is involved in 250 biochemical reactions which support every function. Zinc is needed for healthy digestion, strong immune system and also is critical for the functioning of neurotransmitters. Good sources include beef, crab, lamb, dark meat, chicken, legumes, cashews and good-quality multivitamins with minerals.
Magnesium is required for 300 biochemical reactions that are involved for healthy bones and teeth, reduce anxiety, lowers blood pressure and risk of diabetes. Most of us get half of the recommended in our diet. It helps to activate enzymes that are beneficial for neurotransmitters. We can reduce depression by avoiding magnesium deficiency. Good food sources include nuts and seeds, whole grains, dark vegetables, bran, and dark chocolate.
4: Vitamin D
The brain loves this vitamin and has many receptors just waiting for its payload. Vitamin D deficiency is not associated with depression but also with anxiety, SAD. To reduce risks of depression, supplementation of vitamin D is the only option. Good sources include fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, and egg.
5: Omega-3 Fats
The omega-3 fats DHA is important for brain cell structure. If your diet does not have it than other fats such as trans fats take place of it which is something that causes trouble. It increases inflammation which increases the risk of having depression. Having it in diet decreases risks of depression and mood disorders. Food sources of omega-3 fats are fatty fish, omega-3 fortifies eggs and supplements.
Others are selenium, iron, vitamin C etc. which are important for brain functioning. Their deficiencies might cause depression, anxiety, SAD etc.