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The Link Between Your Diet and Your Mental Health

The Link Between Your Diet and Your Mental Health

The food you eat has a huge factor in your overall health. Every food contains vitamins, nutrients, and in some cases, bad additives that affect your well-being. Just as your diet can make or break your health, it can have a negative impact on your mood and mental state as well.

At Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, our team members are specialists in many forms of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. The four psychiatry experts at our practice are Dr. Elizabeth Bullard, Dr. Brian Moore, Dr. Allison Foroobar, and Dr. Sarah Gilbert. 

Our team has years of experience diagnosing and treating mental health problems. They get to the root of the problem to help you finally get better.

The facts on mental health

Mental health problems are a rising problem in our country. This is especially the case since the world-wide pandemic in 2020, which affected both the physical and mental health of many people across the globe.

However, talking about mental health is still taboo in some areas, making people hesitant to seek help or treatment. With the mental health crisis rising, this just shouldn’t be the case.

There are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and many other mental health conditions. But here are the facts according to the US Department of Health and Human Services:

Another staggering fact is that only 20% of people struggling with mental health problems got treatment for their problems. Only half of those 20% got counseling or therapy from a licensed professional.

As you can see, physical health isn’t the only problem affecting Americans. Mental health issues aren’t going away, and getting to the bottom of them is the first step in breaking down the walls of psychiatric disorders.

How your diet impacts your mood

Believe it or not, your diet has a huge impact on your feelings, mood, and brain. The food that goes into your body plays a role in just about every biological process. In fact, mental health disorders may actually stem from your gut.

Your gastrointestinal tract is tightly linked to your brain health. In fact, they’re so closely intertwined that their relationship is sometimes referred to as the gut-brain connection.

So how does food affect your brain health? Your gut contains millions upon millions of living organisms called microbes. These organisms are in control of various functions throughout your body, including producing neurotransmitters that relay signals to your brain to help with your mood and emotions.

Different types of foods can negatively impact these important microbes that live in the gut. If they’re disturbed, it can affect the neurotransmitters that influence your mental health.

For instance, healthy food intake helps produce good bacteria in your gut, which positively affects neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. However, a diet high in junk food and sugar leads to inflammation, which in turn, slows down production of vital neurotransmitters.

Eating healthy for your mind

When your mental health is suffering, the first step is to make some easy lifestyle changes, including your diet. Your gut health is very important, which is why you want to limit things like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods.

Simply adding lean proteins, various fruits and vegetables, and nutrient-dense foods into your daily routine can significantly improve your mental health by positively affecting the neurotransmitters in your gut and brain. 

There are also a variety of nutrients that play an important part in your mental health. Loading up on the following nutrients helps improve your mood and emotions:

Prebiotics and probiotics are another important aspect to your gut health, and your mood. These help improve your gut bacteria, and are in foods like yogurt, bananas, garlic, and asparagus.

Although your diet may positively impact your mental health, you may still need expert treatment from our team. But as they’ll tell you, eating healthy is one of the first steps in your journey to a healthier mind.

If you’re dealing with a mental health problem and need guidance, don’t hesitate to call us at 919-446-3232, or request a consultation with our psychiatry experts using our online booking tool.

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