1 in 6 adults experience a common mental health problem
1 in 5 adults has considered taking their own life
Prescribed drugs are the most common form of treatment
Service and funding cuts mean less people are being diagnosed and supported
- Omega-3 – This is a group of essential fatty acids – essential meaning that we can’t make them ourselves and so must get them from our diet. Within this group is something called docosahexaeonic acid – DHA to you and me! DHA makes up a large portion of our brain and so getting enough from diet has been shown to promote brain health.
- B-Vitamins – Vit B deficiency has been directly linked to increased prevalence of anxiety, depression and mood disorders. What’s more, folate deficiency in particular reduces the body’s response to antidepressants. Getting enough Vitamin B can help to reduce the risk of these conditions and improve tolerance of medications.
- Vitamin D – Helps to regulate brain hormones such as serotonin, which directly effect mood and so can influence mental health. This can be seen in a condition called ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ or SAD. Those suffering from SAD experience a low mood in winter months, thought to be caused by a lack of Vitamin D synthesis due to low levels of sunlight.
- Antioxidants – These are compounds which work throughout the body to reduce levels of free radicals and oxidative damage. In other words, they’re the protectors of cells – and that includes brain cells. Studies have shown that increased antioxidant activity can reduce the risk of anxiety, depression and cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Processed Food – More commonly known as junk food, tends to be full of sugar, harmful trans fats and heaps of artificial ingredients and additives. Not only are these all ingredients which aren’t needed for survival (!) but they also play havoc with our gut, blood sugar levels and hormones – negatively impacting mood and emotion.
- Sugar – High blood sugar levels have been shown to have a direct correlation with increased anxiety. Replace the sugar with natural sugar replacements and the effect is reversed! Because it’s so energy-dense, consuming sugar often overloads the body with excess energy that worsens symptoms of anxiety and associated conditions.
- Alcohol – If you’ve ever had a hangover then you’ll know just how bad alcohol can make you feel! This is often made light of but it is in fact your body warning you that you’ve done some damage, encouraging that “I’ll never drink again” mindset! Alcohol dehydrates us, increases anxiety levels and excess alcohol is directly linked to depression.
- Caffeine – Hear us out! Those caffeinated drinks you think are getting your through each day may in fact be masking a deeper mental need for rest, sleep and recuperation. Just as with alcohol, research has shown caffeine to increase anxiety due to its effect on stimulating the senses into a state of hyperarousal.
Author Stephanie Masterman @Nutrinoggin
Noda, K., Nakayama, K., & Oku, T. (1994). Serum glucose and insulin levels and erythritol balance after oral administration of erythritol in healthy subjects. European Journal of clinical Nutrition. 48(4), 286-292.
World Health Organization. Mental Health Gap Action Programme: Scaling Up Care for Mental, Neurological, and Substance Use Disorders. WHO, 2008.
Fernandes de Abreu, DA, Eyles, D, Feron, F. Vitamin D, a neuroimmunomodulator: implications for neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2009; 34 (suppl 1): S265–77.