How Your Mental Health is Affected by the Food You Eat

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash
  • Several credible systematic reviews have shown that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can help to improve overall mood and general feelings of happiness; it can also reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Specific diet interventions can help improve the symptoms of some mental health disorders. For example, there is credible evidence that the ketogenic diet, which cuts back on carbohydrates and focuses on calories from protein and fat, reduces the frequency of seizures in children with epilepsy.
  • Not getting enough of a specific nutrient can affect your mental health. For example, a deficiency in vitamin B12 leads to fatigue, lethargy, depression, poor memory, and is associated with mania and psychosis. When pregnant women don’t get enough folic acid, their children can have developmental problems, and those children are more likely to develop depression as adults. And not getting enough niacin can lead to dementia, diarrhea, and itchy skin.
  • There is clear evidence that diet has an effect on cognitive function later in life, the researchers write, even though we still don’t understand how this works in the body. Still, evidence shows that the Mediterranean diet — which focuses on whole foods and lean proteins and cuts out processed foods and sugars — is associated with higher levels of cognitive function later in life. And that diets high in sugar and fat lead to cardiometabolic diseases, which have negative effects on cognition.

Try It: Mediterranean Diet

  • Get your starch fix with whole grains and legumes.
  • Fill up on plenty of fruits and veggies.
  • Focus on eating fatty fish, like salmon or albacore tuna, in place of red meat.
  • Add in healthy fats, like raw nuts and olive oil.
  • Enjoy sweets and wine in moderation.

Try It: DASH Diet

  • Embrace whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Get protein from chicken, fish, and nuts.
  • Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy.
  • Limit sweets, sugary drinks, saturated fats, and alcohol.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Kathy Berman

Addiction recovery date:11/24/1976. Addiction recovery; eating clean; self-discovery. Kathy Berman’s Publications lists my Medium publications.