How Nutrition Impacts Mental Health
There are many factors that influence mental health including genetic predisposition, environment, developmental history, family and social contexts, life experiences, chronic stressors, and lifestyle. An often-overlooked factor that can impact or exacerbate mental health functioning is nutrition. When this is out of balance or deficient, the systems of the body can work less efficiently, including systems involved in cognitive and emotional regulation. Nutrients in the foods we eat directly modulate a range of different physical processes including brain functioning, hormones, mood regulation, and energy levels. In the psychotherapy world, a lot of emphasis is placed on a one-directional view of how thoughts and emotions impact physical health. However, the systems of the body are fully bi-directional. Therefore, it is also important to consider how our physiology and current state of physical health directly impacts our thoughts and emotions. Mental health is not cut off from the rest of the body. It is interconnected with physical health, and it can be optimized and supported by restoring the body’s balance.