In 2019 the team neuroscientists from the University of Gothenburg under the direction of Suzanne Dixon And Roger Adampublished a studydietary psychiatry: to improve mental health through what is eaten. This area was first discussed and has since been studied as the relationship between feeding And mental health can have a significant impact on our emotional well-being.
“One of the major challenges when it comes to providing dietary advice to improve mental health is to advance in knowledge nutrition personalized based on observations,” the authors noted. “Sensitivity to problems mental health it varies throughout life and between individuals, and depends on genetic background, cultural background, and environment. nutritional needs they also differ throughout life.” The work was published in European Neuropsychopharmacology.
According to the researchers, there are some areas where the link between diet and mental health is strong, such as the influence ketogenic diet – high fat, low carbohydrate – for treatment children with epilepsy or to relieve symptoms of deficiency vitamin b12such as fatigue, memory loss or depression. They also found strong evidence that a Mediterranean diet based on vegetables and olive oil may offer mental health benefits, such as offering some prevention of depression and anxiety.
In this emerging field, nutritionist Marieli Hernandez has pointed out that what we eat can help improve emotional well-being. ” food they cannot cure on their own,” he warned, “but they can be part of a comprehensive approach to improving mental health“.
Hernandez mentioned some food which are considered positive in terms of dietary psychiatry:
Fruits and vegetables: contain a large number antioxidants, In addition to a wide range vitamins And minerals necessary for proper functioning brain. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, and strawberries, can help lower levels. cortisolhormone stress.
A study published in British Journal of Health Psychology showed that participants who ate more fruits and vegetables had lower levels stress and older psychological well-being compared to those who consumed less.
Omega-3 fatty acids: are healthy fats They are mainly found in fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Omega-3s play a fundamental role in brain health and may reduce the risk depression and other mood disorders.
A study published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that additives Omega 3 improve symptoms in patients with severe depression. Also, although this is an older study, researchers at the University of Tasmania in Australia found that teens who ate fish at least once a week were 40% less likely to be depressed.
Tryptophan rich foods: It’s about amino acid which the body uses to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood. It can be found in eggs and dairy products.
Nuts and seeds: They are natural sources of tryptophan. Almonds, Brazil nuts, and chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other beneficial nutrients. brain.
An investigation carried out in Harvard University found that women who consumed five or more servings walnuts per week had a significantly lower risk of developing depression. The same was found in a study conducted among older people.
Dark chocolate: high content cocoa it can be good for mental health. Dark chocolate is rich flavonoids, antioxidants which can improve blood flow in brain and promote the production endorphins, the so-called “hormones of happiness.” According to a study published in the journal Journal of Psychopharmacology, consumption of dark chocolate for 30 days improved mood participants and reduce symptoms depression.
Green tea: it is known for its many health benefits and can have a positive effect on mood. Contains amino acid called L-theanine, which has relaxing properties and can increase serotonin And dopamine in the brain neurotransmitters associated with well-being and happiness. Journal research Nutrients found that L-theanine from green tea improved attention and mood in the participants.
Probiotics: food fermentedsuch as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain beneficial bacteria that promote healthy healthy gut microbiota. A balanced microbiota has been shown to have a positive effect on mental healthsince intestinal bacteria affect the production neurotransmitterslike serotonin.
These are just a few examples of mental health foods supported by research in dietary psychiatry. But it should be noted that mental health It can’t just be related to diet.
The frequency of meals also plays a decisive role. Nutrition experts recommend eating at regular times and not skipping meals. Undernourishment may lead to overeating later to compensate; In addition, hunger can trigger irritability, anger, and other negative feelings that can lead to depression and anxiety.
nutritionist Hernandez stressed that it is important to keep in mind that these products should be part of balanced diet and varied. “It’s not about eating one food, it’s about maintaining a healthy diet. Also, it’s very important to consult with a health professional before making any major dietary changes, especially if you’re treating mental health issues.”
Also recommended physical activity regular sleep, adequate sleep, stress management and social support as key tools for maintaining good mental health.