The effect of food on mental health

Conteúdo Principal do Artigo

Elena-Teodora Constantin
Sandra Fonseca

Palavras Chave

Food, Mental Health, Emotions

Resumo

Food influences to a great extent our disposition whereas our mood dictates our cravings and the type of nutrients we choose. Emotions affect eating while the nutritional properties of food impact on brain functions related to mood and emotion. The dietary choices are a complete and complex circuit. Provided we influence one option, the other will follow suit, as increasing evidence has shown that the food choices have a positive impact on several mental disorders. In this research paper we have tried to show that nutritional deficiencies have been proved to negatively impact on the mental sanity and that, consequently, specific nutrients can contribute to the alleviation of mood and mental disorders. Specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions, whereas the lack of vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and some macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and lipids) may contribute to aggravating a poor psychological state. Among the most common nutritional deficiencies seen in mental disorder patients are those of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters: tyrosine to dopamine, tryptophan to serotonin. Serotonin and tryptophan are known to promote well-being and their production is triggered by carbohydrate rich foods. Carbohydrates have been found to affect mood and behaviour. Inadequate dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may increase predisposition to several psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. Anxiety, depression, and autism spectrum disorders have been linked to functional Gastro-Intestinal tract (GI) disruptions, whereas GI disease are often determinant for psychological comorbidities.  Altered gut microbiota composition, in particular a less diversified one, has been associated with stress as well.  Showing more attention to the daily food and bringing the right nutrients in the proper amounts may enhance our mood.

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Licença Creative Commons
Este trabalho está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons - Atribuição 4.0 Internacional.