Strengthening mental wellness through diet
Articles / Blog
06-04-15 Category: Mental Health, Therapy

strengthening-mental-wellness-through-diet

Managing one’s mental health may seem like a consistent struggle sometimes. Actively practicing new and healthy activities can take a good while to master and take an even longer time to notice any progress. But what if there were healthy behaviors that benefited one’s mind and body simultaneously? The answer is maintaining one’s diet. By consuming foods and other supplements that contain certain nutrients, evidence has shown that these healthy eating patterns can improve a person’s life in many unique ways.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids promote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system by reducing “bad” cholesterol and increasing “good” cholesterol in the body. In addition, omega-3 also benefits mental health. Compiled clinical evidence shows promising implications that these acids specifically counter depression. While more trials and studies are needed to investigate further, the significant impacts to neurological functioning include improvements in the brain’s circuitry and signal sending capability.

Since the body cannot generate its own omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to note what foods they are found in:

  • Seafood such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel
  • Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts

Tryptophan

Amino acids influence the functions of many living creatures. Of the aromatic variety, researchers have found that tryptophan plays a critical role in the generation of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has links to mood and social stability in humans as well as many other internal perceptions. Since tryptophan is present in primary sources of protein, it is important for an individual to consume these foods on a regular basis.

Tryptophan can be found in:

  • Red meat
  • Turkey
  • Dairy products
  • Soy

Magnesium

A growing pool of research suggests that magnesium’s impact on recovery stretches beyond physical limitations. The supplement is already widely used to treat muscle strain and other injuries, but recent analyses have also demonstrated its use in regards to anxiety and depression. Due to its muscle-relaxing capability, the same effect may also occur in one’s brain if stressful thoughts and activity prevent a natural process of relief. A fair amount of research cites the relationship between magnesium deficiency and neuropathology. Magnesium manages levels of calcium in the brain, which is related to the production of various mood regulating chemicals. An interesting find is that modern food processing systems have removed the mineral from a lot of edible materials. This means people must actively seek out better sources in order to consume the recommended amounts of magnesium.

Magnesium can be found in:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Avocados

Zinc

Some studies show that approximately 300 enzymes depend on zinc in some way to accomplish their respective tasks. In addition, it also aids the signals and circuitry between cells. Due to this wide range of capacities, zinc deficiency can play a part in many brain impairments. Initial research has recommended zinc for treating depression as well as schizophrenia. While zinc supplements do exist, only small amounts of less than 50 milligrams are needed each day to achieve optimum performance.

B Vitamins and Folic Acid

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, has a long scientific history with mental health treatments, especially for deficiencies associated with schizophrenia. Vitamin B12 and folic acid also have an irreplaceable role in regulating chemicals, such as dopamine and noradrenalin. Most of the time, people who are burdened with depression are lacking these two substances. While additional research on the matter is being conducted, increasing a person’s supply of folic acid and vitamin B12 may boost the individual’s response to other medications.

Niacin, or vitamin B3 is found in:

  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Other meats

Vitamin B12 is mainly found in:

  • Fish and other seafood like oysters
  • Various meats
  • Dairy products

Folic acid is found in:

  • Leafy greens
  • Fruits

By maintaining a balanced and diversified diet, both physical and mental health can be achieved each day. Sovereign Health of California also promotes different, disciplined and scheduled methodologies to help keep those in recovery on a healthy track. A steady routine and a nutritional diet can translate to an optimum state of mental wellness. If additional resources are needed, contact a representative to see if comprehensive, residential treatment is right for you. Live chat with us online or call (866) 819-0427.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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