It has only been in recent years that the discussion of nutrition may play a part in mental health. There are countless accounts of individuals claiming that they tend to feel more energized, have better sleep and think clearer when consuming a balanced diet. Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day was associated with better mental wellbeing in a recent study at the University of Warwick in the U.K. Researchers worked with data from over 14,000 participants in the Health Survey for England, read some of the results below.
Thirty three and a half per cent of those with high mental wellbeing reported eating five servings a day. Of this group, only 6.8 per cent ate less than one portion. Of the participants, 44 per cent were male and 56 per cent were female, implying that the association applies equally to both genders.
All involved were over 16 years of age and their mental wellbeing was assessed using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS). About 15 per cent of participants were categorized as having “high” mental wellbeing and another 15 per cent were in the “low” category. The remaining 16 to 84 per cent fell somewhere in the middle, according to the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal.
In 2012, the same research team found that wellbeing peaked at seven portions per day of fruits and vegetables. This study was published in the journal Social Indicators Research. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians will experience a mental-health condition such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder in his or her lifetime. Research has also identified that the food also contributes to mood and even perception of self. Nutrient-rich foods create less peaks and lows within our system allowing us to appropriately use the food as fuel.
How Sugar Affects Mood
Conversely, let’s take a look at a diet that has a high content of sugar and fat. Not only is excess sugar unhealthy for many reasons, sugar has addictive properties that causes you to want more triggering intense cravings.
Have you ever tried a ‘no-carb’ diet or may be close to someone who has? When it’s suddenly and/or completely removed from the diet, during initial stages, one may experience mood swings, irritability, fatigue or even the inability to think clearly. Nutrient-rich foods actually repairs brain cells and in turn, these foods will help you learn and remember better in addition to keeping you motivated. Read more about brain food.