According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mental illness remains a significant public health disease, such that 25% of American adults suffer from it. What makes mental illness the serious problem is that it is also associated with other diseases like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

The extent of mental illness in the country is very alarming. With the advancements in medical science, you would think that mental illnesses would have decreased with the many interventions available for patients. But, no. The number of patients suffering from mental illnesses is still increasing.

Diet for Better Mental Health

Conventional treatments for mental illnesses include medications, psychotherapy, and group therapy. While these are compelling enough, most experts believe that aside from these conventional treatments, diet can play a crucial role in treating mental disorders.

Eating healthy foods does not only prevent metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity, but it can also bring benefits for mental health. A research study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand noted that increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables can improve the psychological health of individuals within two weeks.

Lead researcher of the study, Dr. Tamlin Conner, noted that young adults who were given more fruits and vegetables to consume for 14 days experienced a boost in their vitality and motivation. The study involved 171 students between 18 and 25 years old. The subjects were divided into three groups wherein one continued their normal eating pattern while the other group was given additional servings of fruits and vegetables. The last group received vouchers and were reminded through text messages to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The participants were also asked to undergo psychological assessments to assess their vitality, mood, and symptoms of mental illness. Participants who belong to the second group–those who consume more fruits and vegetables–experienced more improvements in their mental well-being. The effects were seen after just two weeks of consuming vegetables and fruits.

food brain mental healthTypes of Foods For Good Mental Health

Researchers noted that consuming at least three servings of fruits and vegetables daily can be beneficial to your mental health. But what happens to the body if you consume more fruits and vegetables? When you eat the right kinds of food, your body produces more serotonin, which is a hormone that regulates mood, sleep, and appetite. Serotonin is made in the digestive system thus feeding the good bacteria in your gut can help increase the serotonin.

People who eat foods with prebiotics (good bacteria) like leafy green vegetables can contribute to reducing levels of anxiety and improve the mental outlook. Aside from fruits and vegetables, it is also crucial for people to avoid certain types of foods such as white sugar, processed food, and refined ingredients. Vegetables and fruits are good, but you can increase your mental health if you also eat unadulterated and fermented foods.

A healthy diet can go a long way as it does not only help the body heal physically, but it also helps improve your mental health.

Inspired by food.ndtv.com