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Can You Eat Your Way To Mental Health?
  • Arati Shah

  • 11, Oct. 2019

Can You Eat Your Way To Mental Health?

Mental health problems affect both men and women equally. However, some are more common in women than in men. A study conducted at Binghamton University found that men are more likely to experience mental well being until nutritional deficiencies arise. Women, on the other hand are less likely to experience mental well being until a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are followed. So, women need a larger spectrum of nutrients for mental well being. A fitness nutritionist can ensure a well balanced diet with a widvariety of nutrients for good physical and mental health. 

It’s a conventional fact that green vegetables, whole grains, good fats and fruits can help you achieve a better physical health but there is also emerging evidence that suggests that good nutrition plays an essential role in your mental health too. Don’t we all just feel a sense of wellbeing when we eat a whole balanced meal? Research has shown that consumption of refined and processed foods like chips or soft drinks put you at a higher risk for mental diseases like ADHD. Another research showed a strong link between sugar intake and depression and anxiety. 

If the brain is deprived of good quality nutrition, one can expect to suffer from mood disorders. Certain foods have an impact on how one feels. Hence, making the necessary dietary changes and adding those foods in the diet can be a good therapy and can cost one much lesser in the final aim for self-care. We have put together some foods that have a role to play a role in improving mental health.     

Fatty fish or fish oils 

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna or fish oils are rich in Omega -3 fatty acids which are needed for proper brain functioning. They form a significant amount of the brain as they are a part of the brain cells. Omega -3 supplementation and especially Eicosapentaenoic acid (found mainly in fatty fish) has shown to reduce symptoms of mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorders. 

Colourful fruits and vegetables: 

The more the colour on your plate more are the phytonutrients in your diet. These help in dealing with stress and thus making you feel better. And not to forget… the colours are appealing to the eye and may just raise your happiness quotient. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, amaranth, microgreens, collard greens etc. are not only nutrient dense foods but at the same time are low in calories. They are loaded with micronutrients and research has shown that individuals consuming green leafy vegetables on a daily basis have shown to have a relaxed cognitive decline than those who don’t consume it regularly. Spinach especially is rich in folate which may play a role as an adjunctive treatment for depression. In fact the fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A and Vitamin C can neutralize the free radicals that can cause cell damage. 


Did you know carbs have the potential to make you elevate your moods? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps keep your moods in check and inhibits pain besides being instrumental in regulating sleep and appetite. Serotonin is made from tryptophan which is an amino acid that is found in the foods containing carbs. So, carbs it is for a good state of mind. But remember, choose your cabs wisely. Limit the sugary stuff and concentrate on the whole grains. So, if you are feeling down reach out for the bowl of oats or a dal and rice to uplift your mood.  

Fermented foods: 

Fermented foods are a great place to start with for those looking to have a great mood. Fermented foods like sourdough breads, kefir, kombucha, yogurt, idlis, dosas, misp, tempeh, etc help in altering the gut microbiome which can alter the mental state. These are natural probiotics and also aid in maintaining the digestive health of an individual. 


Walnuts make the richest source of Omega – 3 fatty acids from the plant sources. As we read earlier, Omega -3 forms a significant component of the brain which link it to mental health. There has been a great reduction in the consumption of Omega 3 from the dietary sources which could also be a contributor to the rise in the number of psychological disorders. 


These power packed fruits namely, strawberries, mulberries, blueberries and mulberries are rich in oodles of nutrients. It makes a great antioxidant fix and poses as a great snack or sweet treat. The high antioxidant content in this pulpy fruit helps in reducing inflammation by reducing free radical damage and also cuts down the signs of anxiety and depression. They also contain polyphenols which has shown to improve brain health like memory. 


Tiny but mighty is what defines seeds’ nutrient values the best. Seeds like flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc are rich in good fats and essential micronutrients. Not only are they a mood lifter but also help in fighting a spectrum of diseases and keep you away from nutrient deficiencies. 

There is a lot of research that points out to the fact that what we eat has an impact on our mental health. So, if you are feeling a bit off, just rethink the foods that you are eating. With just a few changes the good food can uplift your mood. Obesity can contribute to depression and anxiety and vice versa. If weight is an issue, getting on to a weight loss program can help get on to a healthier lifestyle which include the foods mentioned above. And since women are more vulnerable to moods due to their hormones too, a nutritionist for women would be able to guide her right on the ideal foods for her good moods. Eating a clean diet at every age is the key to good health.