Diet may play a very important role in determining mental health status of an individual according to results of a diet related research. Consumption of fatty food and compromise on fresh food such as vegetables and fruits could even predispose to depression and memory related problems. Moreover, implementation of diet changes was found to resolve mental health related problems more effectively than conventional approaches such as drug treatment or counseling.
"We are well aware of the effect of diet upon our physical health. But we are only just beginning to understand how the brain as an organ is influenced by the nutrients it derives from the foods we eat and how diets have an impact on our mental health," said Dr Andrew McCulloch, Mental Health Foundation.
AdvertisementThe study has highlighted the changing trend related to the consumption of a diet with a perfect balance of minerals, vitamins and other such nutrients over the recent years. The widespread use of pesticides and insecticides has been accounted for an alteration in the body fat content of animals. In addition, there is also a disturbance in the levels of vital fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 in chickens. This has led to a gross disturbance in the body fat composition among humans, increasing the chances of heart attacks, diabetes etc.
The wide spread use of ready to eat food items, has led to an increase in the amount of saturated body fat in the body, impairing the effective functioning of the brain. The consumption of healthy food items such as vegetables and fish (omega-3 fatty acids) has declined considerably over the past 50 years.
This kind of an unhealthy diet system could be attributed to an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and depression.
"The good news is that the diet for a healthy mind is the same as the diet for a healthy body. The bad news is that, unless there is a radical overhaul of food and farming policies there won't be healthy and nutritious foods available in the future for people to eat, " said Courtney Van de Weyer, a researcher involved in the study.
"The evidence associating mental health and nutrient intake is in its infancy, this is a very difficult association to research and in many cases results are subjective. Therefore, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the association between mental illness and dietary intake at this point. However, the nutrient recommendations outlined in this report are in line with recommendations for good health, which should continue to be advocated by all health professionals, " concluded Rebecca Foster, British Nutrition Foundation.
Clearly, more studies are needed to further establish the link between diet and mental health.