What we eat means so much more than what we think
I am often asked how in the world I am interested in both health/fitness of the body and mental health.
Well, truth be told it isn't just me trying to blend my passions. There is actually science behind this to prove that how we eat not only affects our physical health and risk for disease --- but it also directly correlates with our mental health.
The research on this connection is still on-going, but it is very real. We know that adequate nutrition is needed for brain functioning. Poor quality diet is a known risk factor for depression and anxiety. We know for example that a lack of Omega-3 fatty acids is linked with increased risk of depression. Also, deficiencies in folate, B vitamins, iron, zinc and selenium have ALL been clinically linked to an increased risk to depression and are much more commonly seen in those who suffer from depression and anxiety than who those who don't. Also, some people who suffer from depression and take anti-depressants may continue to complain of depressed symptoms. The reason for this is two-fold. First of all, medications alone will not cure your disorder. It will manage the symptoms somewhat, but without the right psychotherapy, you will continue to struggle.
Also, it is actually known that these continued nutritional deficiencies will actually decrease the response of your anti-depressant!! I bet you didn't know that!
It is also interesting to note that women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have been recently are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of poor nutrition on mood because pregnancy and lactation are major nutritional stressors to the body. The depletion of nutrient reserves throughout pregnancy and a lack of recovery postpartum may increase a woman’s risk of depression.
It is obvious that more research studies are needed to clarify the role of nutrition in the pathophysiology of depression among childbearing-aged women.
Long story short --- FUEL your body with proper nutrition, move your body daily with exercise and remember it isn't about what you look like on the outside but it is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. However, what we put into your bodies is so important and if you find yourself struggling with symptoms of depression and anxiety, take all of these factors into consideration. As a psychotherapist AND fitness coach, I always address all aspects of health with my clients suffering from these symptoms. The
The role of nutrition in psychiatry could be more important than it was initially considered.