Why Diet and Mental Health Are Eternally Connected – NAMI CCNS – Chicagoland Mental Health
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Why Diet and Mental Health Are Eternally Connected

Most people think healthy eating is all about losing unwanted weight, but did you know that a proper diet helps sustain your mental health? Your body and mind are intimately connected, and they need to work in synchronization all the time in order to achieve overall wellness. We’ve compiled a quick guide with some useful information on how you can keep yourself feeling and looking healthy.

The Gut/Brain Connection

Have you ever had an upset stomach when you were stressed? Kelly Brogan MD reports that studies show that the gut and brain are connected. Physical health and mental health are linked. Your body is organized through a network of nerves, and neurotransmitters travel along these connections. One of those neurotransmitters is serotonin, and it’s produced in the gut. Your mind can distress your stomach, and your digestive tract can soothe your emotional well-being.

Probiotics can help ease stomachaches and even severe disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. When your body is introduced to healthy bacteria, it can work twice as hard to ease your gut and assist brain chemistry in promoting your general wellness.

Hormone Balance

Hormone imbalances account for billions of dollars in healthcare costs. ASEA discusses how diet can affect people down to the genetic level. What you put into your body is meant to nourish it and aid your brain in adjusting the levels of hormones that maintain your mental health. You never want over- or under-active production of hormones. A balanced diet can help with that. Vitamin supplements can also assist in regulating the hormones you need to get a good night’s sleep, and this definitely affects your mental health.

How does unhealthy eating affect mental health?

Many people turn to junk food for comfort when they’re having problems with emotional depression. This coping mechanism may feel good at first, but it leaves your body lacking nutrients and filled with unhealthy substances instead. In turn, this causes obesity, lethargy and other conditions that make disorders such as depression worse. Food & Mood Centre explains that diet has a major impact on mental health, in both positive and negative ways.

How does diet affect mental health?

Studies have shown vitamin-enriched foods can help your mental wellness by boosting your metabolism and giving you more energy. It’s very important that children eat fresh foods to get the nutrients they need and to start developing healthy habits early in life.

Probiotics Affect on Mental Health

Studies show that when people take probiotics (supplements containing good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve, compared with people who did not take probiotics.  In addition to taking probiotics, unprocessed foods often contain elements, which act as natural probiotics.  It’s no wonder that people that eat unprocessed foods seem filled with energy and are often happy!


Now that you’ve discovered how much your diet affects your mental health and outlook, you can see its vital importance. Concentrate on foods that promote a healthy metabolism for your overall wellness, and keep your brain and body properly in tune.

If you or someone you know is living with a mental illness, it can sometimes to be tough to take care ourselves. We offer 12 week courses to help people understand themselves and those around them a little better. Learn more about our education courses today.

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