The Role of Diet and Mental Health

New research is coming out about the role of diet on ones mental health. And it appears there is a lot more research on this topic to come. There are evidenced based findings showing a correlation between a healthier diet and better mental health, as well as the converse. It can be confusing about what constitutes a healthy diet, since trends in eating arrive every year.

It is safe to rest on the tenet that a diet comprised of whole foods contains the nutrient density to support good health, is not a fad, and makes good sense. It is not necessary to be extremely knowledgable about diet, nor food trends, nor cooking, to make good choices about what to eat. Just take it back to the basics of the earths bounty. Eat whole foods and lots of plants. Therefore, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, olive/coconut/avocado oil (most other oils are processed foods); Grains are eaten in small quantities that are whole (think rice, quinoa, oatmeal); If you choose to incorporate animal products, choose wild fish, and organic eggs, dairy, chicken or meat whenever possible. Or even better find a high quality butcher that has researched the source. It is far more important to eat organic animal products than organic produce.

Diet and mental health

A whole foods diet omits or highly limits sugar and processed foods, ingredients and drinks. Refined grain products are also avoided or eaten in small quantities.

If you want more detailed guidance, Whole30 is a great resource.

Consider trying to switch up one meal a day to purely whole foods. For example, starting breakfast with a simple smoothie: kale/banana/frozen blueberries/chia seed and water. Or switching your afternoon snack to fruit and nuts.

Here is a link to an article on research findings that the Mediterranean Diet Improves Depression. The mediterranean diet is comprised of whole foods and is traditionally followed in Greece, Crete, southern France, and parts of Italy. It emphasizes fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, olive oil, and grilled or steamed seafood and chicken.