Mental Health disorders, in particular depression, accounts for the highest burden of disability on a global scale. Despite an increase in the recognition, acceptance, and treatment of depression and anxiety, data from around the world suggests that rates may be increasing, particularly in young people.
The 20th Century has seen major shifts in our global dietary intake. There has been a marked increase in the consumption of sugars, snack foods, take-away foods, and high-energy foods. At the same time, there has been a marked decrease in the consumption of nutrient, fibre-dense foods. Scarily enough, unhealthy diet is now one of the leading causes of early death (GBD 2010).
One of the most obvious, yet under-recognised factors in mental health is the role of nutrition. The body of evidence linking diet and mental health is growing at a rapid pace. Better quality diets are consistently associated with reduced depression, while unhealthy dietary patterns – higher in processed foods – are associated with increased depression and often anxiety.
Foods with higher sugar contents are absorbed faster into the bloodstream, which can cause an initial surge of energy or a ‘high’. But this high soon wears off as the body increase insulin production, and this can leave you feeling tired, low, and susceptible to the feelings of depression.
You should aim to eat fewer high sugar foods, and aim to have more wholegrain cereals, nuts, beans, lentils, fruit, and vegetables.
These foods have a lower sugar content, so the sugar is absorbed more slowly and doesn’t tend to cause mood swings. They are also containing a larger amount vitamins and minerals, some of which are associated with the control and improvement of moods.
Take care of your gut to take care of your brain.
- Emily xx