When most of us think about our food, we tend to stress how it affects our bodies. But the food we eat also plays a role in how we feel better, and unbalanced eating can be as damaging to our heads as our stomachs. Certain nutritional deficiencies can affect your mental health, so if you’re feeling sick, whether you’ve ever had more anxiety than usual, or feel tired or depressed, you may want to look at your diet to see if it’s there. Some food groups are missing.
“Diet plays an important role in our mental health because it affects our mood, anxiety, levels of focus, and many other aspects of brain function,” said a licensed clinical psychologist and nutrition expert. Board certification Nicole Beurkens, PhD, CNS tells Bustle “Research has shown that eating foods high in sugar, chemicals, and unhealthy fats can lead to a number of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. Lack of protein, fats, and fruits and vegetables There is also a risk of not getting the nutrients necessary for the production of brain chemicals necessary to properly regulate our mood and behavior.
Here are 10 nutritional deficiencies that can affect your mental health, medical experts say.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Healthy fats are essential for healthy brain function because the brain is made up of large amounts of fat. “Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA, support healthy brain function, and low levels can lead to unstable mood, depression, anxiety, poor attention and attentiveness, and more,” says Dr. The best food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish, such as salmon, sardines, or mackerel, Beurkens said. “But make sure they are wild caught and not farmed,” she said. Other foods that contain omega-3s include grass-fed beef, chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts.
2 vitamin D
Although most of us think of vitamin D when it comes to bone health and immune function. But it is important for mental health. “Vitamin D is essential for production. neurotransmitter And low levels have been linked to depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental health conditions, ”Dr. Beurkens said. Foods that provide vitamin D include fatty fish. (Salmon and tuna), egg yolks, and dairy-based foods such as milk or cheese.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency is unlikely to be noticeable for most people. But we know that these nutrients have important mental health effects, ”says Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RDN,“ Bustle. ”“ Even in people with normal blood levels of vitamin B12, depression is fine. This observation supports the important role that vitamin B12 plays in mental health, even in people with seemingly normal levels of the nutrient, “although most adults eat enough B12-rich foods, vegetarians” And vegans are at risk for this in the short term.
Although low-carb diets seem the rage lately, this nutrient plays an important role in your mental health. “Low-carb diets tend to accelerate depression,” says Becky Kerkenbush, MS, RD-AP, CSG, CD, bustling. “Carbohydrate-rich foods stimulate the production of serotonin and tryptophan, which are brain chemicals.” Two Serotonin types help regulate sleep and appetite, and help mediate mood. “
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are precursors to neurotransmitters. Such as serotonin that the body needs to regulate mood, Kerkenbush says.Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine and is found in dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats, and wheat, Tryptophan is used. It makes serotonin, melatonin, and niacin and is found in foods such as nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.
Magnesium is essential for many processes in the brain and body, and can be considered a calming nutrient. “Research suggests that most people in the United States have lower than they should have magnesium levels, which can lead to anxiety and panic attacks, restlessness, insomnia and irritability” to get more magnesium. In your diet, include foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, spinach, chocolate, and pumpkin seeds.
Many people think zinc is a must when you have a cold or illness. But zinc is a very important nutrient for mental health. “Poor zinc levels can affect mood and anxiety levels, reduce appetite. And make people feel like they don’t have the energy or motivation to do things,” says Dr. Beurkens. Eat foods such as red meat, chicken, oysters and crab, pumpkin seeds, green beans, cashews, and spinach.
“Low energy is the most common symptom in people related to lowering iron levels. But iron is associated with depression, anxiety, restlessness, sleep problems, and asthma symptoms, ”Dr Beurkens said. They are below the iron level. ”Great sources of iron include meat, fish, dark green vegetables such as spinach, beans, nuts, cashews and quinoa.
“Folate is another B vitamin that has been linked to mental health,” Dixon says. “When someone experiences a fully deficiency, depression is one of the most prominent symptoms.” Pinto beans, beans, adzuki beans, green beans, green beans, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cabbage, avocado, and whole grains, fortified foods.
Since selenium is only found in high amounts in a few select foods. It is highly likely that someone is not eating enough. “One study] with 50 young adults in England found that selenium supplementation improved mood,” Dixon said. Low “If you want to add more selenium to your diet, try the brazil nut. “Brazil nuts are an incredibly good source of selenium that just one brazil nut contains more than 100 percent of the RDA for this nutrient,” she said.
If you believe you may have a nutritional deficiency that can affect your mental health, see a doctor who can help you with the tests and make the most accurate diagnosis .