Feeding Mind – the impact of food on mental health

Did you know? Almost 82 per cent of India’s population suffers from stress with major causes being work, health or finance-related issues. While many factors contribute to ones’ psychological and emotional strain, often people fail to realise the role of ‘Nutrition’ and ‘Diet’ in building a sound mind.

Certain foods can be provided as nutritional supplements to deal with specific mental health issues under certain circumstances. For example, Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, appear to be helpful for people suffering from quite serious depression.

Similarly, studies suggest that vitamin B supplementation may be helpful for some. An amino acid called N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) has shown to be particularly effective in people with depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders.

Likewise, there is a lot of animal research that points to zinc as an important nutrient in mental health. Zinc supplementation appears to be helpful for depression in conjunction with other treatments, while dietary zinc intake is also protective for depression. Zinc is a powerful antioxidant and seems to exert beneficial effects on the gut.

Hence understanding what supplements are useful for individuals under specific circumstances is as important as other treatment modules. Consulting an expert for a piece of professional advice is highly recommended.


Eating right and how you eat matters

             A nutritional diet will do a world of good for people of all ages, especially in warding off diseases. Here are a few general tips on how to eat healthy, especially for kids:-

             Focus on making healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy to get the nutrients you need. A variety of foods is important.

             Building a healthier eating habit can help you avoid overweight and obesity and reduce your risk of low construction, anti-social habits, anxiety, etc

             Choose an eating style low in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

             Try to have drinks high in nutrients such as Coconut Water, Juices, Butter milk, etc

             Avoid added sugar drinks like cola and soda is highly recommended for healthy living.

             Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

             Focus on whole fruits.

             Vary your veggies.

             Make half your grains whole grains.

             Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt.

             Vary your protein routine.

             Reduce Technology time TV, Laptop, Phone.

             Increase outdoor activity time to burn calories.


(The author, renowned Dietitian Srishti Arora, can be reached at diet.srishti@gmail.com)

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