Medical Moment: How diet affects mental health

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 8:50 PM EST
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(WNDU) - The old saying is that an apple a day keeps the doctor away … But what about for your mental health?

New research shows how some foods may just be the ultimate mood booster.

Eating foods that make us feel better emotionally can help us move quicker and think clearer.

It also helps with concentration and mindset. Consuming a deficient diet can lead to weariness, exhaustion, and debility.

According to the American Dietetic Association, it is common for people to either overeat or undereat when they are stressed. Eating too much often results in feelings of tiredness and overstimulation.

When undereating, irritability and exhaustion are common symptoms, and the behavior can become difficult to break.

Poor diet during times of mental distress can become a brutal cycle that is difficult to overcome. Paying the most attention to how you feel while eating is the key ingredient to making sure you are indulging in a well-balanced diet.

Being mindful of maintaining a regular grocery store routine, meal prepping, honoring hunger cues, and paying mind to where you eat can all help improve your relationship with the foods you are consuming.

“There’s certain foods that have been shown to be good for brain health and potentially affect mood,” said Tara Collingwood, a registered dietitian.

According to new research from a university in England, people who eat fruit more often reported greater positive mental wellbeing and are less likely to report symptoms of depression than those who do not.

Another study in Australia found eating four to six different vegetables a day was associated with 24 percent to 42 percent lower risk of depression.

“Omega-3 fatty acids that are in fish could help to protect our brain,” Collingwood explained.

A study published in “Molecular Psychiatry” found patients treated with omega-3′s had up to a 71 percent drop in depression