Does Nutrition Have Anything to Do with Mental Health?

June 7, 2024
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 50 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point during their lives.” - stated from The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders

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This stat is not only daunting… it’s unnerving, terrifying, and humbling. As of 2017, over 46 million people suffered from a mental condition

Mental conditions plague our well-being. And unfortunately, many of us are affected in some way or another.

But what does this have to do with what we’re doing at Journey Foods?

Well, we’re in the business of analyzing and optimizing nutrition, supply chain insights, and cost.

And while the issue of mental health is ferociously complex, experts are finding that nutrition has a significant role to play.

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Nutrition and Mental Health

“A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health,” says Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. “A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.” - stated from The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders

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There is a growing body of evidence that suggests food/diet and mental health are associated with one another.

As time goes on, scientists will learn more and more - and hopefully, they will pin down the causes and remedies concerning mental health. If nutrition is directly associated with our well-being, we can take a bit more control of our lives.

Jacka, referenced above, performed numerous studies in an attempt to determine whether or not nutrition had a role to play in one’s mental well-being.

  • She found that dietary patterns are related to hippocampal volume in adults.
  • In a study of 67 depressed adults, Jacka randomly assigned a dietician to help participants make diet decisions. The American Psychological Association writes that “while just 8 percent of the control group achieved remission, almost a third of the dietary intervention group did.”

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Other studies show that children have an increased risk of ADHD when they consume fast food and soft drinks.

And the Indian Journal of Psychiatry stated that “on the basis of accumulating scientific evidence, an effective therapeutic intervention is emerging, namely nutritional supplement/treatment. These may be appropriate for controlling and to some extent, preventing depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism, and addiction.”

Just a few searches on Google will reveal a myriad of info concerning the ties between nutrition and mental health.

At this point, it looks as though experts are confident in their claims that nutrition has a role to play in mental well-being. Now, it’s just about solidifying the science behind what exactly is the most efficient way to target specific maladies.

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Access to Nutrition Could Mean Access to Mental Health

Last month, we released four blogs on the rural side of food and economics.

A large portion of our conversation was about food access.

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” - (World Food Summit, 1996)

 

And the concept of access still applies when looking at mental illness and well-being. If the science shows that nutrition has a role to play in mental health, it’s more pertinent than ever, to make sure our communities - rural and urban - receive the access to nutrition they need.

It could literally be a matter of life and death.

How do you think we can increase food access? What are your thoughts on mental health and its correlation to nutrition?

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