Healthy eating and mental health

FourthEstate
March 7, 2021

Read a transcript of this video:

They say you are what you eat.

From healthier skin, hair and nails to prolonged life expectancy, there is no end to the physical health benefits of a good diet. But studies tell us that our diets and fluid intake can also impact our mental health.

When we don’t drink enough fluid, or eat enough nutrient-rich foods, our bodies lack hydration and/or essential vitamins and minerals. This can affect our energy levels, cognitive function and overall mood.

Foods such as green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans and fortified breakfast cereals can help to increase our folate levels and can help us to top up essential B vitamins. These can stop us from feeling tired, depressed and irritable.

For all-round health, it’s important not to forget iron-rich foods such as beans and pulses. This can stop us feeling lethargic and is far better than relying on stimulants such as caffeine.

We all turn to ‘comfort food’ for a treat from time to time. This is absolutely fine in moderation, and some studies suggest there is a link between high-carbohydrate foods and better moods.

What’s most important is to follow a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, oily fish containing omega 3 oils and low amounts of salt and saturated fats. This can be difficult at times if you are in a caring situation but if you can look after your own health and diet, you can better look after others.

You can find more information about healthy eating at the British Dietetic Association and the association’s ‘Food Fact Sheet’ can be downloaded from the Healthy eating section here in the Virtual Carers Centre.

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How a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, vitamins, iron and omega 3 oils can boost physical and mental health
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