Mental Health Nutrition

Did You Know Nutrition Can Impact Your Mental Health?

By Jennifer M. Published: Mar 01, 2024

A brain made out of fruits and vegetables


Keeping one's mental health in check requires proper nutrition. It is important to support optimal mental functioning and nourish the brain in addition to physical well-being.

Research on how diet affects mental health is an area that is expanding quickly. Research has indicated that our mood, mental health, and cognitive function can all be greatly impacted by the foods we eat.

The key message: Maintaining mental well-being requires a healthy diet. It is vital that we prioritize nutrition well-being above all else in order to support optimum mental mind.

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates

How Does Nutrition Affect Your Brain?

Several nutritional deficiencies, can cause symptoms of depression and dementia such as low mood, fatigue, cognitive decline, and irritability.

  • Vitamins such as B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, and vitamin E contribute to neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve signaling, influencing mood and cognitive processes.
  • Minerals like magnesium and zinc are involved in neural transmission and neuroprotection.
  • Antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids help combat oxidative stress, which can otherwise impair brain function.
  • Omega-3 can play an important role against resistance to stress.Omega-3 fatty acid have also been associated with improved mood and cognition.
  • Water research has found that "men and women who drank the least amount of water (less than two glasses per day) were at significantly higher risk for depression than those who drank five glasses or more per day"
  • Tea studies show evidence that green tea "influences psychopathological symptoms (e.g. reduction of anxiety), cognition (e.g. benefits in memory and attention) and brain function (e.g. activation of working memory seen in functional MRI)".
  • Dark Chocolate a study in young adults, after the consumption of high-flavanol cocoa, showed an improved blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate may also improve cognitive performance in verbal learning, memory, and attention favoring academic achievement.

Consuming high quality foods, rich in these nutrients, can have a positive influence on the brain chemistry, promoting mental clarity and emotional stability.

Taking charge of your mental health involves recognizing the vital role that nutrition plays in supporting emotional well-being. However, it is important to note that nutrition should not substitute professional help. When starting a new diet, always consult your physician first.