11-17 May 2015 is Mental Health Awareness Week.

What we eat and drink can have a major affect on health, including our mental health.

If the body isn’t getting the right nutrients, your digestive system sends signals of distress to your brain, which may affect overall mental health and wellbeing.

Strong Links Between Mental Health and Nutrition

  • Eating disorders and mental health are very much interconnected
  • Almost two thirds of those reporting no mental health issues regularly eat fresh fruit and veg compared to less than half of those reporting mental health issues
  • Drinking alcohol can promote feelings of depression and vice versa
  • A diet heavy in processed and sugary food and drink can affect blood sugar levels, which can then affect your mood and energy
  • Lack of protein may suppress the amino acid tryptophan, which is responsible for improving sleep and promoting feelings of calm
  • Low omega-3 intake has been regularly linked to problems with mood and brain function
  • Those who are considered obese, when diet is the main factor, may suffer from depression as a result
  • Dehydration may promote irritability and difficulties in concentrating

Mental Health Foundation

mental health foundation

The Mental Health Foundation’s Awareness Week is a useful source of information for anyone who considers themselves to have a mental health issue. It’s also a valuable resource for trying to understand and support family and friends who may be suffering.

Often, especially for those without mental health issues, it can be hard to know how to help others due to a lack of understanding in relation to the issues involved.

be mindful - mindfulnessMindfulness
The campaign also features mindfulness, which is an excellent form of meditation that has made a big difference to many, including myself.

Mindfulness is not just meditation however – I’d describe it as a technique that changes the way your brain, and body, react to potential everyday stress-type situations. Gradually, the techniques become second nature and you begin to react differently without even thinking about it.

Useful Links

Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Foundation
Time to Change Campaign