The quality and quantity of foods we eat can influence our mood, stress levels and concentration.
Studies have shown the relationship between our mental health and diet are closely linked. A habitual healthy eating plan can improve our mental wellbeing and assist our body in coping with stress and anxiety. 1
A systematic review into diet quality and mental health highlighted the importance of understanding the impacts of a healthy diet on our emotional wellbeing. The review observed consistent cross-sectional relationships between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health; however, more research is required to investigate the extent of the impact. 2
We often consider stress when examining our mental health. Everyone experiences different levels of stress and this can have both a positive and negative impact on our lifestyle. Stress can affect your dietary habits, and your dietary habits can affect your stress. If you keep a diet suitable for your lifestyle, you can actually manage your stress levels to make sure you have good mental health.
Good diets can manage your stress levels as well as prevent various mental illnesses like depression and dementia. Maintaining a balance is an important key to supporting our psychological wellbeing. Poor dietary patterns can influence our body and mind, which is why maintaining a healthy diet, is so important for your well-being. 3
One way to assist in ensuring good mental health is to find a healthy diet that suits your individual needs. As everyone’s dietary needs vary, it is important to consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian (http://daa.asn.au/) to make sure your diet is meeting your body’s needs. On a broad scale, a good diet stems from eating a variety of vegetables, fruit, grains, meat and dairy every day, with correct portions of each as demonstrated in the health-eating pyramid.
Many factors can affect our emotional wellbeing, whilst a healthy diet does not imply better mental health; it is a simple step we can take to improve our quality of life.
- Jacka, Felice N., Gary Sacks, Michael Berk, and Steven Allender. “Food policies for physical and mental health.” BMC psychiatry 14, no. 1 (2014): 1.
- O’Neil, Adrienne, Shae E. Quirk, Siobhan Housden, Sharon L. Brennan, Lana J. Williams, Julie A. Pasco, Michael Berk, and Felice N. Jacka. “Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: a systematic review.” American journal of public health 104, no. 10 (2014): e31-e42.
- Lai, Jun S., Sarah Hiles, Alessandra Bisquera, Alexis J. Hure, Mark McEvoy, and John Attia. “A systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression in community-dwelling adults.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2014): ajcn-069880.