The Foods That Affect Your Mental Health | Men's Health Magazine Australia

How Your Diet Could Be Affecting Your Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, the statistics are shocking.

According to Beyond Blue, one in seven people will experience depression in their lifetime, while one-quarter of Australians will experience anxiety.

Watch the full story above.

Now, academics are funnelling their focus towards food – looking at the link between fuelling up and feeling down.

“With mental health, we know that it’s multifactorial,” said nutritionist and author Michele Chevalley Hedge.

“Things like stress, genetics and viruses are things we can’t control – but what we can control is what we eat.

“The research is pointing to the link between food and mood – and some of the leading research from Deakin University proves that food can underpin depressive factors in three to four months.”

Increase your good fats

“We have too little good fats in our diets – but an abundance of trans fats in our diets,” Hedge said.

“The good quality fats in olive oil, seeds and nuts, and cold water fish are packed with omegas that have a direct and positive influence on our brain cells and mood-modulating cells like serotonin.

“Our brains are made up of 60 per cent fat – so they really love those good quality fats.”

Sugar and your mood

A typical breakfast of a ‘healthy’ cereal and chia tea can be loaded with as much as 18 teaspoons of sugar, spiking your blood sugar levels.

That can lead to a crash where you feel tired and hungry again – and too much sugar can increase your sensitivity to C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation.

“What’s going to hurt people and will affect people’s moods is when they start their day with sugar and end their day with sugar,” Hedge said.

“All of a sudden, you’re having mood swings – but the reality is it’s your blood sugar spiking and dropping off.

“They feel like they have anxiety and depression – but perhaps it’s just the sugar.”

Four simple tips

“I want people to go back to eating real, whole food – unpackaged and unprocessed as much as possible,” Hedge said.

“Ditch the processed sugars so you realise you’re not on a mood swing but a sugar swing.

“Go for slow carbs, not no carbs – slow carbs will feed your energy and your vitality and therefore your ability to connect with people in good moods. Bring back the love of smart carbs and use them wisely.

“Proteins will stabilise your blood sugar, and good quality fats will stabilise it too.”

This article originally appeared on 7NEWS

More From