NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Eating right is widely regarded as an important part of staying physically fit, but it may also be important for your mental health, according to mounting research.
“We were trying all these medications and not seeing any results,” Amita Patel recently told CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois.
Patel said she has struggled with depression for years, and the medication wasn’t helping. After years with no improvement, she took matters into her own hands and discovered a growing body of research that linked food and mood.
“Eating for your mood became a really new concept for me,” she said.
That concept is now being embraced by many mental health professionals.
“When patients come to see me, I talk to them about what they eat and I give each of them my food prescription,” Dr. Drew Ramsey explained.
Ramsey said that there is substantial evidence to support the claim that certain foods can improve mental health. A study published in Nutrition Journal found a direct association between higher levels of nutrient intake and better mental health in 97 people.
“There are more ways to get relief from mental suffering than just the traditional pharmaceuticals and medications,” Dr. Ramsey said.
Experts told CBS 2 that researchers identified specific foods that may be helpful in promoting feelings of well being and calm.
“If you look at the nutrient deficiencies that are common with people who have mood imbalances, it’s B vitamins, Vitamin C, and Choline,” nutritionist Nicolette Pace said.
Pace identified eggs, olive oil, lean beef, bananas, and dates as possible mood enhancers.
The brain is made of 60-percent fat and foods like mackerel and tuna for their large amounts of essential fatty acids can play a role in improving mental health, explained Andrea Warsha-Wernick.
Other foods that have been shown to improve mood include brown rice, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
Patel said she noticed a change within a month of eliminating junk food and including mood boosters.
“I’m so much happier and healthier than I ever thought I could have been,” she said.
Experts told CBS 2 that before making any changes to your diet or medication routine you should consult a mental health professional.
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