How food affects mental health


What roles do diet, nutrients, and lifestyle play in preventing depression or developing a treatment plan? What’s great today is that we’re talking so much more openly about depression. At the same time, a focus should be placed on first investigating deeper physiological causes before starting antidepressants.

There are multiple causes that can trigger depression and let’s raise awareness to look deeper. If you or someone you love has depression, take a closer look. Ask your doctor to do further tests. Don’t ignore the body physiology and all of the causes of the triggers listed below.

Possible causes of depression

Causes can include the functioning of various systems in your body, chronic systemic inflammation caused by certain foods, nutritional deficiencies, and much more.

1. Good health is closely related to that Brain health. In the early embryonic stage, your gut and brain come from the same tissue. Your brain is considered the primary, and the intestine is known as the enteric nervous system. The two are connected via the Vagus nerve, that’s the wandering nerve.

Think how upset your digestive system is when you get upset about something, or how upset you feel when your digestion fails. Leaky bowel refers to when the lining of your intestinal lining has become inflamed and permeable due to inflammation triggers. When your bowels are unhealthy, you are also affecting your ability to produce serotonin, making you depressed.

Image source:

2. Chronic systemic inflammation is common in so many people. Your body can be in a state of eternity Immune attack due to nutritional deficiencies, food triggers, high stress levels, poor sleep, and more. When you’re constantly stressed, physiologically or psychologically, high levels of cortisol overstimulate the amygdala, the primitive part of your brain. It makes you more vulnerable and less resistant to stress.

Nutritional deficiency is a major cause of depression. Critical nutrients in which a deficiency can lead to symptoms of depression are omega-3, iron, B12, B vitamins, vitamin D and zinc.

3. Hormones play key roles in mental health, especially for women. When there is a low progesterone and estrogen dominance, it may be a major reason women suffer from depression. Progesterone is released after ovulation and activates the GABA receptors in the brain. Many women can have anovulatory cycles and there may be cycles in which progesterone is not released or released insufficiently. Many women find that their mood changes dramatically when they support hormone health with food and nutrients.

4. The blood sugar balance is a challenge for many. Blood sugar needs to be stable for a stable mood, hormones and neurotransmitters. Many meals are high in sugar, which tends to tip the balance and create the ripple effect of blood sugar imbalance. Every single meal needs a lot of fiber, plenty of protein and healthy fats. When blood sugar is stable on a low glycemic diet, it forms a strong foundation that can help prevent depression.

There are several other systemic causes including thyroid health, adrenal function, liver health, fat digestion, and lymph movement.

Diet and Depression

Diet plays a key role in depression.

1. If your diet is high in inflammatory foods, high in sugar, and bad fats, it can prevent your body from lowering systemic inflammation. The very first step would be to cut down on all sugars and starches, fried foods, gluten, dairy products, peanuts, soy and corn. This allows your body’s immune system to calm down instead of being in a hyper-alarm mode. The next step would be to add nutrient dense foods.

2. Protein is a big part of optimal mental health. It especially plays a role in the very first meal of the day. Many breakfasts can be high in sugar with low or negligible protein. Make sure you have at least one gram per pound of body weight and more when struggling with depression.

3. Check your nutritional status Omega-3, iron, B12, zinc and vitamin D.. If you have low levels of vitamin D make sure to correct them. A common mistake is to give a high dose once a week. The absorption is much better when given in a low dose every day. Iron is an important nutrient that is easily deficient in people with antacids, bowel problems, vegans, and women with heavy cycles. Make sure iron is addressed. Work with a qualified doctor to regain optimal levels.

4. Add lots healthy fats. Your body builds steroid hormones and sex hormones from fat and cholesterol. When you eat a low-fat diet, your body doesn’t have the building blocks to produce them and they are key roles in your mental health.

See that every meal has some healthy fats from avocados, coconut, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and ghee.

If you are taking antidepressants, speak to your doctor and look more closely. Always address the causes with every treatment. That will ensure that you are doing your best to help your body recover.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here