This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. 
I think it can be useful if this week we highlight a bit the relationship between the food and our mental health. 
Do you know actually that there is a strong relationship between food and our mental health? Do you know that you can prevent the depression if you you choose your food mindfully? 
The depression and anxiety are the most common mental health condition worldwide which is effecting our wellbeing and functioning. The researches have shown that 19,7% of UK’s population suffer from symptoms of depression. 
The relationship between food and our mental health gained interest in the last few years but unfortunately still doesn’t get enough attention. 
It is personal experience that when you suffer from depression and you go to GP to ask for help sadly the GP wouldn’t pay attention to find out about your eating or exercise habits or recommend anything related to them. 
Researches have observed that healthy diet patterns with high consumption of fruit , vegetable, nuts, legumes, reduced consumption of poultry, egg, diary , occasional consumption of red meat is associated with reduced risk of depression. 
However the nature of these relations are complicated such as comfort food in terms of low mood or changes in appetite from stress are common human experiences. 
Relationship between nutrition and long lasting mental health are compounded by barriers and these barriers effect people with mental illnesses. 
An individual with high amount of refined carb in his diet has increased risk of obesity and diabetes. People with obesity, diabetes and different health issues already have a higher risk of mental health problem. 
Carbohydrates with high glycemic index ( contain high amount of refined carb and sugar) may have effect on psychological well-being . Studies has shown that there is association between progressively high dietary glycemic index and depressive symptoms in healthy individuals. 
Our mood itself affect our food choices , but carbohydrate increase the risk of depression and anxiety. For example rapid increase and decrease in blood glucose level can trigger the hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, growth hormone, glucagon. 
Reduced number of inflammation ( body’s immune system, protection from infections, bacteria, viruses) in human and high calorie meals rich in saturated fat appears to effect the body’s immune activation. 
Studies has shown that people with depression usually have more refined carb, trans fat from ready meals and processed food, and sadly a lower intake of nutritious food and anti inflammatory properties (Omega 3 fatty acid) which seems to prevent depression. 
Some medical experts calls the gut as “second brain” because millions of nerve ending in our gut system and gut micro biome interacts with the brain and it effects our mental health and influence our way of thinking. The hunger, the satiety we get from food and our mood swings have affected by our gut micro biome. 
Major depressive disorder in human associated with gut micro biome. 
A diet with high amount of fibre and polyphenols (antioxidants in plant-based food which has several health benefits)and unsaturated fatty acids can promote healthy gut and metabolise food sources . 
The support of the gut bacteria’s regulate emotions in human brain. 
Read this book if you want to know more about the gut and the brain relationship: 
The best anti depressant foods are: 
vegetables,organ meat, fruit, seafood, legumes, meats, grains, nuts and seeds and diary products. 
The most important nutrients to prevent depression are: 
Folate, iron, omega 3, magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, zinc. 
As we see good nutrition not only plays a role in physical health. It has a powerful effect on our mental health. The way our brain forms memories, handles stress, absence or presence of mental illness a lot has to do with food we eat and the health of our gut. 
Include the foods and nutrients above in your diet to get relief from low mood. In addition perform regular aerobic and strength training. It helps your blood flow towards brain providing essential nutrients and oxygen. It is important for optimum performance of the cells. 
Limit fast food, fried food, processed food, refined carb, sugar, alcohol , caffein. 
Clear your diet time to time from refined and processed food and give yourself the nutrients you need for better mental health. 
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