The Connection Between Nutrition and Mental Health

Instead of relying solely on medications and other treatments, researchers are beginning to explore the relationship between nutrition and mental health.

A poor diet can have an adverse effect on the brain, leading to symptoms like anxiety or depression. Studies have revealed that those who consume a lot of processed foods and sugar have been found to be more vulnerable to developing mood disorders.


Inflammation is your body’s response to an irritation. It can be brought on by germs or foreign objects like a splinter in your finger.

Inflammation is initiated by resident immune cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, that recognize PAMPs (pathogen-associated molecular patterns) and DAMPs (damage-associated molecular patterns), activating an inflammatory response.

Acute inflammation causes the release of inflammatory mediators, leading to damage to the tissue or organ that has been injured. This response then spreads and matures through involvement of local vascular system, immune system and other cells within inflamed tissue.

Chronic inflammation occurs if the initial injury isn’t resolved, and involves a shift in cell types at the site of inflammation such as mononuclear cells. This leads to tissue destruction and can eventually lead to chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or inflammatory bowel diseases.

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are allergies that aren’t caused by your immune system reacting excessively to a food, but rather due to an issue with digestion.

They can cause a range of symptoms, from fatigue to irritable bowel syndrome. Furthermore, they have the potential to negatively impact your mood.

Food intolerances, unlike food allergies, occur when your body lacks the enzymes needed to break down certain foods properly. For instance, lactose – the primary sugar found in milk products – may be one such example and cause bloating, cramping and excessive gas.

If you believe you may have a food sensitivity, consult with your doctor or dietitian about elimination diets to identify the culprit foods. But never self-diagnose or attempt an elimination diet without professional guidance from a registered dietitian; doing so could lead to nutritional deficiencies and other serious health issues.

Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the main energy source in your body and having too much can lead to diabetes and other serious health complications like amputations, heart disease and eye damage.

Our bodies strive to maintain a stable blood glucose level throughout the day and night. On average, blood sugar levels range between 90 and 100 millimoles per deciliter (mmol/L).

Your doctor can check your blood sugar levels with a glycated hemoglobin test, which doesn’t require you to fast for any period of time and measures the average of two or three months’ worth of data on glucose consumption.

High and low blood sugars can have a significant effect on your mental wellbeing. For instance, you might feel angry and anxious when your glucose level is too high, while when it drops too low you might experience an uptight mood.


Mood is your current state of mind and an important influence over what you choose to think and do. Most moods pass quickly, but when they persist for an extended period of time and begin interfering with daily life activities, it is time to speak with a healthcare provider.

A mood disorder can have serious repercussions. It may cause issues in your relationships, at work and during daily activities; additionally, it increases the risk of suicide and other health complications.

Depression and dysthymia (a chronic, low-grade depressed or irritable mood that lasts two years) are two types of mood disorders. While some symptoms of these conditions are universal across all people, others can affect anyone.

People suffering from mood disorders often require treatment to help them feel better and control their symptoms. This may include medication, therapy, support services and self-care activities.

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