Medical Blog

Lifestyle Intervention for Mental Health- Nutrition

A healthy diet can have many health benefits including improving one’s mental functioning and mood.

Pay attention to the kinds of food you’re eating, and also if you’re getting adequate nutrition during the day. Sometimes, with a very busy schedule, we skip meals or eat inadequate portions or types of foods. Ensuring that we have eaten the proper amount of the right kind of food can have direct benefits on focus, depression and anxiety.

Foods that could maintain or improve mental health include proper portions of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and omega-3 rich items.

Lean proteins, including meat, poultry, dairy and legumes (beans, peas, lentils) can enhance energy and have mood benefits. Avoid fried preparations.

Complex carbohydrates, Including whole grains, beans and vegetables are energy enhancing, and can help with anxiety and depression. These foods provide sustained energy as opposed to the short burst of energy from simple carbohydrates such as cookies and candy.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with possible improvements in ADHD in children, depression associated with bipolar disorder, and prevention of progression of psychosis and teenagers and adults up to the age of 25. They may also confer general mental health benefits apart from those listed above, but the most evidence exists for these conditions. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only found in cold water fish products like salmon and tuna but also in a variety of plant products including beans, leafy greens, and soy products. It is best to get Omega-3 fatty acids from your diet as supposed to a supplement, but this is also an acceptable source.

Before making any changes to your diet, consult with your physician and a certified nutritionist.

Risks of Omega-3 rich foods (particularly larger doses in supplements) include bleeding, reduced immune system functioning, nausea, heartburn, and loose stools. Interactions with medications and other supplements are possible.

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA and that they might contain impurities and health risks that cannot be predicted by the physician recommending their use.

© Neevon Esmaili 2016

Neevon Esmaili, MD
Child Adolescent, & Adult Psychiatrist
Dual Board Certified

The information on this blog is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat a medical or psychiatric illness. It is for informational purposes only. Diagnosis and treatment of medical and psychiatric illness can only be done by a licensed clinical professional, and recommends consulting with a qualified healthcare provider for any questions or issues you may have. This blog cannot be used as a substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional.

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