I’m sure we have all eaten a little too much pizza, maybe skipped breakfast here and there and possibly even lived on french fries for a majority of our youth, but do we ever stop to consider how greatly our diet affects not just our bodies, but our minds too? Just recently, Science Daily released an article (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129104217.htm) pertaining to a collaborative study that joins the field of nutrition and also the study of psychology together.
Researchers from Melbourne University partnered with Deakin University recently concluded a study that reveals that diet and nutrition directly correlate with mental health.
As we all know, we are what we eat, meaning if we eat poorly then we ourselves will feel poor. This feeling is not just physical but it is also mental. Lacking certain nutrients in the diet can lead to not only the dis-ease of the body, but also of the mind. Nutrients such as Amino acids, B vitamins, Folic acids, and omega-3’s can greatly improve one’s mental health because they are essentially brain food.
Making a direct link from diet to mental health now combines nutrition and psychology into a growing profession. Instead of mass produced pharmaceuticals being prescribed for many of the diagnosed mental illnesses, we can start to see more plant based remedies along with diet changes that will improve one’s mental state.
The integration of nutrition into clinical mental health care in order to benefit one’s state of mind is something that is a relatively new practice. Typically, as westerner’s we prefer a quick fix, or in this case a prescription. You go to the doctors, they ask you questions and then prescribe a pill for a problem and you’re on your way. However, the pill will just suppress your symptoms and neglect to cure the root of the problem. By intertwining nutrition with psychology, health professionals are working together to solve a REALLY big problem. By doing this, the patient can now be treated from a holistic perspective that involves lifestyle choices, not just quick fixes and prescriptions.
Programs for Nutrition Psychologists are present and growing. An integrative approach to modern medicine such as this field is so necessary, especially since “One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year” (Horwitz). With statistics like that, it is no wonder why we must approach mental health and ways to maintain a positive state of being with as much knowledge as possible.
So why does this matter? Well consider yourself for a moment. Do you take any prescriptions? If so what are they? Would you be more willing to trade out Doritos for salmon steak instead of taking a pill? How about the last time you went to the doctor’s, did they ask you more about your symptoms, or more about your diet? Just some food for thought…
Horwitz, Allan V. "The Epidemic in Mental Illness: Clinical Fact or Survey Artifact?" Contexts 5.1 (2006): 19-23. Web.
University of Melbourne. "Diet, nutrition essential for mental health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129104217.htm>.