When it comes to mental illness, the statistics don’t lie. People all over the world are experiencing more and more mental health issues than ever before. In fact, a staggering 1 in 5 Australians suffers from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. And while contributing factors can differ from person to person, it’s important that we recognise the crucial role that diet plays in our mental wellbeing.
Studies have shown that among those who eat fresh fruit and vegetables daily, two thirds report having no mental health problems at all. On the other hand, people who eat fewer healthy meals say they experience a higher rate of mental illness. Overwhelmingly, people who lead a healthier, more balanced lifestyle tend to be more mentally healthy. Of course, this should always be paired with other treatments recommended by your doctor.
Today, let’s explore how your diet can play a role in your mental wellbeing…
Eating for a healthy mind
Most people have heard the phrase, “everything in moderation”. And while it may seem cliché, it certainly rings true when it comes to mental health. As most of us already know, our bodies require certain vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids in order to function optimally. These are best found in fresh fruit, vegetables and other nutrient-dense, un-refined foods.
People who eat a diet that largely consists of wholefoods are far more likely to receive all the necessary nutrients to live a healthy, happy life. This type of diet allows us to feel energised and focused throughout our day, as they contain natural vitamins that can control our moods and keep us feeling fuller for longer. On top of this, a more natural diet has also been shown to reduce the chances of disease in the long-term.
Compare this with a diet high in processed ‘junk’ foods, and the difference is astounding. Refined carbohydrate foods such as chips, chocolate and soft drink are absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly, which gives us an energy spike almost immediately. However, as these foods rapidly enter and rapidly decline, we often experience that sugar low after eating these foods.
Because food is such a huge part of our lives, it can form the foundation for either a positive or negative mental health experience. If you’re feeling tired, sick and sad in your day to day life, chances are you will find other things such as your job, relationships and sleeping pattern far more challenging also. But if you are full of energy and feeling great, you will be far better equipped to take on anything that life throws at you!
How does your diet measure up?
With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that balance is key when it comes to any lifestyle. Eating foods for pleasure versus health is certainly an important part of normal life and as long as you’re getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals from a largely wholefoods diet, then those simple pleasures can still be enjoyed.
Unfortunately, many people struggle to come to terms with what a healthy diet and lifestyle is simply because there is too much confusion from untrained people. This is why Fuel Your Life creates personalised nutrition and lifestyle plans that take into account your goals, mental and physical health as well as a host of other factors. Our team of professional dietitian’s will help you get the most from your life and your diet with a detailed plan that works for you!
Get in touch with us today by filling out our contact form to learn more about how we can help you!