Mental Health & Nutrition

by Tim Livingston

Happy Guy What we eat plays a large role in our physiology, what we weigh and how we look. Nutrition also plays a big role in the importance of overall mental health. Depression, mood swings, and even feeling tired, can be directly related to the foods we choose.

‘What’s eating you’, could be directly related to what you’re eating. For example, when we eat too many carbohydrates it raises our blood sugar, which results in an elevated mood. Once our blood sugar drops, our mood drops, and the brain can become sluggish. Our daily nutritional choices influence the development and activities of the brain, and depend on an adequate amount for optimal functioning.

Summary of Nutrient-Brain Relationships
Brain Function
Nutrients & Sources
(click on the nutrient for more information)

Short-term memory Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E
Performance in Problem-solving tests Riboflavin, Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C
Mental health Thiamin, Niacin, Zinc, Folate, Omega-3
Cognition Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Iron, Vitamin E
Tyrosine, Tryptophan, Choline

Our food choices play an important role in our overall mental health, both daily and long-term. Studies have shown that a diet rich in particular foods and nutrients can improve cognitive function, delay dementia, diminish loss of memory, and may prevent the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Nutritional deficiencies, however, can contribute to memory loss and cognitive decline in later years.

New research shows that foods such as Fish and Blueberries are two of the most commonly publicized contributors to ensuring that you’re providing good nutrition for your brain, improving and maintaining good cognitive health.

Fish has long been studied for its “relationship between vitamin D and cognitive performance in adults…” The benefits of vitamin D, however, are not solely recognized or provided in fish alone. A number of other good sources also contain adequate amounts of this essential vitamin. Fortified foods, such as yogurt, milk, and orange juice provide vitamin D. Another great source for this important nutrient is sunlight. Be sure to wear sunscreen!

Blueberries are an anytime snack, and can be found in both the fresh and frozen sections of your local grocery store. They have many potential health benefits, and can be eaten in a variety of ways. Include them in your favorite recipes. Some of those benefits and recipes may be reviewed by clicking here.

A well-balanced diet can add many immediate health benefits for your brain, and for your life. For more information on nutrition and dietary guidelines, including valuable tips and resources, visit

Fruits and Veggies
*“Understanding Nutrition (Eleventh Edition)”, Ellie Whitney | Sharon Rady Rolfes
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"Mental Health & Nutrition", by Tim Livingston

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