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The Brain Gut Connection

Updated: Aug 20

Is there a connection between our mental health and the foods we consume?


Did you ever wonder if there were foods that could help decrease depression or anxiety or if the foods you are eating contribute to your depression or anxiety? Reflect on your past weeks meal choices and how you felt mentally and emotionally.

One of the main food contributors to anxiety is caffeine, this can be found in soda, energy drinks, coffee and some dietary supplements. Avoiding caffeine or limiting your intake to one serving per day can help to decrease symptoms of anxiety (Richards & Smith, 2015). Research has been and is currently still being done to determine the relationship between food and mood. Inflammation and inflammatory biomarkers can be directly related to dietary patterns and the nutrients consumed (Godos et al., 2020). Foods highly processed with sugar, hydrogenated fats, and preservatives contribute to inflammation which may cause degeneration of negative effects on cognitive function. On the other hand nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and sardines help to provide protection from inflammation as well as neuroprotective effects (Godos et al., 2020).

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies have been shown to be related to mental health disorders that’s why it is important to consume the most nutrient-dense foods, plant-based nutrient nutrient-dense-dense diets similar to the Mediterranean, the diet has shown benefits for brain health and reducing mood disorders (Godos et al., 2020).

In conclusion what you eat and the quality of foods, you consume can be contributing to your mood and mental health. Making changes in your diet to include more nutrient dense foods and less highly processed foods may help to reduce mental health disorders.


References

Godos, J., Currenti, W., Angelino, D., Mena, P., Castellano, S., Caraci, F., . . . Grosso, G. (2020, April 23). Diet and mental health: Review of the recent updates on molecular mechanisms. Retrieved March 13, 2021, from https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/9/4/346/htm

Richards, G., & Smith, A. (2015, December). Caffeine consumption and self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children. Retrieved March 13, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668773/#bibr45-0269881115612404



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