Better diet, better mental health

Unhealthy diet causes important health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Unhealthy nutrition is the main cause of early deaths in developed countries. Approximately 20% of all deaths in the world can be associated with unhealthy eating habits.


Processed foods lead to depression

At the same time, mental illness is one of the biggest diseases in the world. Depression alone is one of the top five causes of diseases worldwide.

A healthy diet is essential to support a healthy brain. Your diet should contain healthy foods such as various vegetables, fruits, legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans), fish, whole grains (rice, quinoa, oats, bread, etc.), nuts, avocados and olive oil. Very sweet and fatty foods should be special tastes that you will taste from time to time, not the cornerstones of your diet.

Studies are 35% less likely to develop depression than those who eat less with these foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish, and unsaturated fats (such as olive oil).

Processed, fried and sugary foods have low nutritional value and should be avoided. Research shows that consuming this type of food regularly can increase the risk of developing depression by up to 60%.


Nutrition begins in the womb

Healthy eating begins in the womb. Children of women who consume processed, fried and sugary foods at high rates during pregnancy have more emotional problems during childhood. Similarly, more emotional problems are observed in children who consume low-nutrient foods, junk food and processed foods as a whole in the first years of life.

Feeding style can change the brain

It is linked to the hippocampus, an important area of ​​the brain related to diet, learning, memory and mental health. People with a healthy diet have more hippocampal volume than unhealthy diets.

Eating unhealthy junk food and processed foods less and consuming more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, olive oil and other healthy foods can be an effective treatment for depression.


Foods to keep in mind

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain health, reducing inflammation and the risk of heart disease. Oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, anchovy, and sardines are the most recommended sources of omega 3 fatty acids and I recommend eating this type of fish at least twice a week. Omega 3s can also be found in walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and dark green leafy vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach.

According to researches, diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids reduce the risk of depression by up to 30%. Fish oil supplements with high EPA type omega 3 fatty acids can help mental health. Research shows that they can help some depressed patients as much as antidepressants.

B Vitamins

Vitamins of group B help regulate immune function and amino acids, neurotransmitters, building blocks of proteins in the body. Folate and folic acid are part of the family of B vitamins and are found in green leafy vegetables, legumes, and non-ground grains. According to research, people who eat foods rich in folate have a low risk of depression.

Fish (salmon, trout, tuna), beef, lamb, oyster, poultry (chicken and turkey), eggs and milk are natural sources of vitamin B12. Breakfast cereals containing vitamin B12 are a good option for vegetarians. According to research, people with vitamin B12 deficiency have a high risk of depression, especially at a later age.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for mood and optimal brain function, including critical thinking. Oily fish such as salmon and tuna have natural vitamin D. It is also found in eggs, dairy products, and fortified drinks and breakfast cereals. Sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. Five to thirty minutes of sun exposure twice a week produces enough vitamin D in the body. Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression.

Click here to read the “Symptoms and treatment of Vitamin D deficiency symptoms”.

You can send e-mail for your questions.

MWT. Serkan Sıtkı Şahin

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