The quality of food you eat can impact on your physical and mental health. Eating a healthy diet means you're less likely to get depression.
It is only relatively recently that we have started to develop a clear understanding that lifestyle behaviors, including what we eat, have an influence not just on our physical health, but also our mental health. With the knowledge that half of all mental illness begins at age 14 it is important to be feeding ourselves and our families healthy food (see our healthy recipes here).
What we eat may be affecting the way we feel
Knowing what foods we should and shouldn’t be eating can be really confusing, especially when it feels like the advice changes regularly. However, evidence suggests that as well as affecting our physical health, what we eat may also affect the way we feel.
Improving your diet can help to: give you more energy, improve your immune system, improve your sleep, help you think more clearly, improve your dental hygiene and improve your mood.
In Australia, as elsewhere, approximately one in five people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives, including 10-15% of Australian women who will experience antenatal depression and approximately 16% who experience postnatal depression
People who eat a healthy diet are up to 35% less likely to develop depression than people who eat a less healthy diet
One 2014 study found high levels of wellbeing were reported by individuals who ate more fruit and vegetables1. A recent study found that a Mediterranean-style diet (a diet high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.) supplemented with fish oil led to a reduction in depression among participants
Highly processed and sugary foods have almost no nutritional value
Highly processed and sugary foods have little nutritional value and should be avoided. Research shows that a diet that regularly includes these foods can increase the risk of developing depression by as much as 60%. A diet high in highly processed and sugary foods can also increase our risk of developing a number of cancers.
Diet effects learning, memory and mental health
Diet is linked to the hippocampus, a key area of the brain involved in learning, memory and mental health. People with more hippocampal volume volume than those with an unhealthy diet.
A healthy diet includes
A healthy diet includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, fish, healthy oils such as avocados and olive oil (learn 6 ways to decrease your cholesterol).
This content comes from the Deakin Food and Mood Centre: www.foodandmoodcentre.com.au.
Our dietitians, can help you understand that kinds of foods you can eat to best improve your mood and improve your health. Our dietitians are available at Lilydale and Belgrave. Call: 03 9028 0153 Our dietitians can help you understand nutritional information and provide practical advice about what to eat and develop a plan for you. Learn more here.