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The Correlation of Nutrition with Mental Well Being

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The Correlation of Nutrition with Mental Well Being

What our diet consist of is deemed crucial to not only our physical health, but is just as influential to our mental health. The food that individual’s ingest play a vital role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems. The potent brain receives and operates all of the various stimuli that the body assimilates throughout the day. The movement of this information through the synaptic relays is what allows humans to endure feeling and emotion. Jointly, the mind and body create a complex system, and just like any other system it must be accurately developed and well sustained. As a result, proper nutrition strikingly correlates with mental well being as seen through the function of our brain, the importance of food that contains vital properties, overweight individuals, and contrastingly poor and healthy eating habits.

Our brain controls everything that we do and is working hard every second of the day- even when we are asleep. In return, the brain requires fuel that is found within the nutritious food that we eat. Therefore, what individuals choose to eat directly affects the function of our brain, including our complex mood and emotions. If an individual’s brain is impoverished of vital nutrition, repercussions are to be anticipated. A diet that is full of nutritious foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants empower the brain and protects it from oxidative stress which is, an imbalance in the body’s capability to detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair damage (Mandal, n.d.). Unfortunately, that means that the brain can be damaged if an individual does not consistently eat nutritious food. For example, diets that are high in processed sugars are harmful to the brain as they decrease an individual’s body regulation of insulin and increase inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have suggested a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and disabled brain function that includes the worsening of symptoms of mood and behavior disorders, such as depression (Selhub, 2015). These alarming studies reveal the stark correlation between the quality of our diet and our mental well being.

A striking way that proper nutrition affects our well being and behavior is the functions and importance of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that changes how neurons communicate with each other by manipulating signal intensity) and foods that contain serotonin. When an individual’s serotonin levels are down, they are more depressed, and contrastingly when they are high, they are happier. Because of this information, numerous antidepressant drugs target serotonin by attempting to artificially raise serotonin levels to enhance an individual’s mood and behavior (Wilcox, 2009). Interestingly enough, roughly 85 percent of our serotonin in the body is stored in specialized cells in our gut, not in our nervous system or brain, so eating foods high in serotonin is key in the well being of an individual's mental health. Due to the fact that the importance of serotonin is so recurrent in all kinds of organisms, serotonin can be found in a variety of foods. The highest concentrations of serotonin are found in: plantains, walnuts, pineapples, tomatoes, kiwis, and plums (Hopf, 2013). These nutritious foods are equipped with nutritious carbohydrates that increase serotonin levels in the gut, that guarantee rapid communication between the gut cells that aid in the enhancement of our mood. Carbohydrates increase serotonin, and explains the phenomenon of why individuals often crave carbohydrate-rich foods in stressful situations. What is quite ironic is that mood does not only affect what we eat, but also what we eat affects our mood. Research has also stated that when an individual undergoes a diet that eliminates carbohydrates, they tend to become depressed around two weeks into the diet, which incidentally is the same time their serotonin levels have lowered due to lessened carbohydrate intake (Hopf, 2013). Therefore, making sure our diet consists of serotonin is indispensable to the well being of an individual's mental health.

What do almond milk, soy products, chicken, fish, beef and oysters all have in common? They are all foods that contain excellent sources of vitamin B, a vitamin that is increasingly linked to healthy mental wellbeing (Magee, n.d.). Evidence has accumulated that foods rich in B vitamins have the capability to repel depression and other mental issues. This is proved through a Finnish study that revealed the link of B vitamins to preservation of an individual's healthy mood and behavior. The study followed 115 patients that were attending therapy as treatment for immense depression. When researchers followed up with the patients six months after their counseling sessions had ended, the patients whose diets contained the highest amount of vitamin B had the greatest success rate in ceasing depression symptoms (Lawson 2004). Ultimately, the Finnish researchers highlighted that individuals whose diet did not contain enough vitamin B lead to a buildup of homocysteine in the blood, which inflames depression. Additionally, B vitamins are crucial to balanced brain chemistry and mood because they are necessary for the upkeep of healthy nerve and blood cells, making them necessary for an



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