The most obvious yet most neglected aspect of mental health is the role of nutrition. A significant contribution is made by proper nutrition towards mental health, and we will benefit greatly by paying attention to this ‘food-mood connection’
The raw bounty of nature
Research shows that people who consume fresh fruit or fruit juice everyday form two thirds of the population of mentally healthy people. That goes to show that if you want to tip the scales of your mental health in your favour, the kinds of foods you should reach out for are fresh, raw and natural! Not only will they add a huge variety to your platter, they will also provide a huge spectrum of nutrients to your mind! These findings have also been replicated with respect to fresh vegetables and salad.
Are you eating often enough?
Blood sugar levels fluctuate drastically if you go for very long periods in the day without eating. A dip in blood sugar means a dip in mental abilities, because glucose is the fuel of the brain! Eat regular meals throughout the day, preferably smaller portions 2-3 hours apart instead of huge meals twice a day. This will help you keep your blood sugar in check and your thinking renewed.
What would you like to drink?
We need to ensure an adequate amount of water in the day, because even mild dehydration can cause a shift in our feelings, and therefore, behavior. A word of caution about any other kind of fluid intake: alcohol increases the toxins in your system, causing nutrients in the body to be directed for its detoxification. This can in turn lead to the depletion of nutrient reserves in your body, resulting in deficiencies. The deficiencies of certain nutrients have been held responsible for low moods, irritability and depression, and even some long-term serious mental disorders.
We were bold and young
The onset of many mental illnesses which occur in adolescence have been shown to reduce significantly by introducing healthy eating habit patterns in the youth. Proper nutrition is especially important at that age to determine good mental health throughout life, ensuring proper emotional and physical growth and development. However, it has also been found difficult to make adolescents stick to a healthy diet!
Nutrition, not medication
Research shows that it is nutrition, not medication that goes a long way in maintaining mental health. As they say, prevention is better than cure, so it goes for mental health too. It is better to establish a healthy eating pattern earlier in life than to struggle with medication later in life at the onset of a mental illness. You make the choice.