Mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well being. It affects how an individual thinks, feels and acts. Does proper nutrition and exercise play a role in mental health?
The need for adequate nutrition is needed for immeasurable aspects of brain functioning. Poor quality of diet is a modifiable risk factor for depression. The brain will function best when it receives premium fuel. This means eating high quality foods that contain substantial amounts of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants – which nourish the brain and protects it against oxidative stress. The brain can be damaged if proper nutrition isn’t followed out.
There are three main mechanisms by which nutrition can be effective in improving mental health.
- Modifying dietary intake or supplementing diets with single or multiple vitamins and minerals may correct existing nutrient deficiencies that contribute to poor mental health.
- Pharmacologic doses of one or more dietary supplements may improve mental health amongst patients who have a metabolic abnormality that dramatically raises nutrient requirements, such as individuals with alterations in nutrient absorption, transport and storage. These persons may not be deficient in one or more nutrients as defined by traditional standards, but they may have considerably higher nutrients needs that can only be met with pharmacologic doses of dietary supplements.
- Improving the brains nutritional milieu may augment the effectiveness of antidepressant medication. Antidepressant medication is known to have varying degrees of effectiveness among depressed individuals with the extreme begin resistance to treatment, which occurs in up to 30-40% of patients. Thus because nutritional deficiencies are common among individuals with depression and nutrients are essential substrates for brain function, an individuals nutritional status may partially determine treatment effectiveness. Medication may be unable to overcome these nutritional deficiencies in a poorly nourished brain therefore would be rendered unproductive.
Nutritional status plays and important role in mental health and poor nutrition may contribute to this.