WE NEED to double check our mental health and what we eat!
According to The South African Depression and Anxiety Group, one in three people experience mental illness in their lives and 23 people commit suicide every day.
“We are in Mental Health Awareness Month so we should look at the connection between diet and mental health,” said Renny Letswalo, managing director of Cambridge Weight Plan.
The mind and nutrition
By combining study data from 10 countries, researchers at Linyi People’s Hospital in Shandong, China, believe that dietary patterns may contribute to depression.
Evidence shows that food plays an important role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Although the occasional drink is harmless, people should limit their alcoholic intake. Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with anxiety and panic attacks as well as depression.
Foods that protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia include green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil as well as wine.
Diet affects schizophrenia too. Correcting blood sugar problems may be a relevant nutritional approach to this mental disorder.
Addressing essential fat imbalances, increasing antioxidants, B12 and folic acid may help too.
Some people with mental health problems are sensitive to gluten, especially wheat gluten, which can bring on all sorts of symptoms of mental illness.
Attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder may be made worse by some food.
Some additives have been found to create or increase behavioural problems, particularly in children with strong hyperactive tendencies.
There is data showing food rich in protein – such as lean beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, soy, and low-fat dairy products – can have beneficial effects on attention deficit symptoms.
Protein-rich foods are used by the body to make neurotransmitters and a range of chemicals, including dopamine and serotonin, which are released by the brain so neurons and other cells can communicate with each other.
Protein can prevent surges in blood sugar which can also lead to increased hyperactivity.