Many people believe that diet and nutrition have little to do with mental or emotional health. Yet, numerous studies prove that nutrient deficiencies and imbalances adversely affect the way we think and feel.
After all, the brain and the nervous system are very important parts of our physical bodies and need to be nourished, just like the other organs in our body. With a healthy body and brain, we produce the endorphins needed to feel optimistic, happy, and balanced. These “feel-good” endorphins help us cope with the stresses of everyday life.
LOW BLOOD SUGAR
One important factor in your mental health is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). When our blood sugar drops lower than it should be, we can feel anxious, nervous, depressed, and angry. Daily binging on sugar not only causes low blood sugar; it also releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain; this results in fewer dopamine receptors and a need for greater amounts of sugar to feel good. To prevent low blood sugar, it is important to eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods.
THE GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION
Scientists and health practitioners have discovered that good health, including mental health, begins in the gut. When we have an abundance of beneficial gut flora, these microorganisms produce feel-good chemicals. When an overgrowth of candida and fungi overpopulates the intestinal tract, these microorganisms produce neurotoxins that can cause everything from ADD to depression. Genetically modified foods, antibiotics, chlorinated and fluoridated water, and concentrated sweeteners can destroy beneficial gut bacteria.
THYROID DISORDERS AND MENTAL HEALTH
Poor thyroid function can result in mental health disturbances. People with an overactive thyroid may be anxious, tense, moody, impatient, irritable, and depressed. People with an underactive thyroid may lose interest and initiative, have slow mental processing and memory, and may suffer from depression. Iodine and Vitamin A are key nutrients for healthy thyroid function.
MODERN DIET AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Many food products and beverages in the modern diet can affect the nervous system and lead to depression and mental illness.
REFINED SWEETENERS: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose
MODERN VEGETABLE OILS: hardened shortenings, margarines, spreads and liquid oils MSG, almost all processed foods contain MSG, even low-fat dairy products
ADDITIVES: Artificial dyes, flavorings, and preservatives
WHEAT: And other gluten-containing products, poor digestions, and leaky gut.
SOY: Depresses thyroid function
ASPARTAME: Associated with panic attacks, depression, memory problems
GMOs: Disrupt gut flora
The following nutrients are very important to your mental health.
Vitamin A: Think cod liver oil
Vitamin D: Think Cod liver oil
Vitamin B: Think nuts and grains
Vitamin B3: Think grass-fed meat and seafood.
Folate: Think leafy green vegetables.
Vitamin B6: Think bananas.
Vitamin B-12: Think grass-fed meat and seafood.
Vitamin C: think fresh fruits and Vegetables.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Think Cod Liver Oil
Zinc: Think grass-fed red meat or oysters.
Cholesterol: think grass-fed animal fats.
Glycin: Think homemade bone broth.