Nutrition is well-known for its importance in our health and overall well-being, although it is often overlooked. Whether you’ve suddenly felt a little weird, maybe anxious, or struggled with episodes of depression, it’s possible that poor diet is to blame.

In this post, we will take a look at the importance of nutrition and the way it can affect your mental health.

Why is nutrition important?

Our body needs proper nutrition in order to function properly. If you’ve ever had that uneasy sensation in your stomach or chest, or if you’ve ever been anxious or depressed for no apparent reason, you may have already felt the consequences of a poor diet.

You see, everything you consume has an effect on the body because we need nutrients on daily basis. Nutrients play a vital role in our overall health and wellbeing. Without them, we would struggle to perform the basics of activities.

You may have previously heard of the term ‘macronutrients’. This term refers to three major nutrients namely proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Each macronutrient provides a diverse collection of vitamins and minerals. So, we require a balance of each macronutrient in order to obtain an adequate amount of different vitamins and minerals.

In addition, vitamins and minerals are codependent which means that if you don’t consume enough of one nutrient, your body may struggle to absorb another. This can lead to a ripple effect causing numerous nutritional deficiencies and a multitude of symptoms like headaches, tiredness and fatigue, mood swings, poor immune system, slow metabolism, and much more.

Therefore, it’s important to consume a balanced diet that will provide all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

How can nutrition affect your mental health?

The communication between your body and your brain is crucial to your mental health. A poor diet high in sweets, saturated fats, and alcohol can have a significant impact on not only your overall health but also the vital communication between your body and brain. The communication can be severed by bad gut health caused by unhealthy foods.

Gut health refers to the balance between the good and the bad bacteria that reside in your gut microbiome, also known as the gut flora. The gut microbiome is a layer of microorganisms that covers the inside of the digestive tract and contains a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

If you consistently consume unhealthy foods that are high in sugars and saturated fats, then you are likely to bring an imbalance between all the microorganisms in your gut. Our gut health has been linked to our emotions and the way our brain receives information from our senses like smell, sight, taste, and touch. If our diet is low in vitamins and minerals then the bad bacteria will spawn making it hard for the body to communicate effectively with the brain.  

The gut microbiome can affect several hormones that might affect our mental state, notable chemicals connected to stress and mood swings, according to a 2018 study that looked into the link between gut health and mental health.

Furthermore, a 2017 study discovered many direct and indirect communication routes between the gut and the brain, which could have ramifications for human health, particularly in the case of anxiety and depression.

Foods for better mental health

Whole grains

A 2017 study found that consuming whole grains like brown rice, buckwheat, barley, whole-wheat pasta, and oatmeal has significantly reduced the risks of anxiety and depression in women. This study also found that women who consumed refined sugars are more likely to experience anxiety and depression.


Berries are rich in antioxidants, and numerous vitamins and minerals which support a strong immune system, hormonal balance, and healthy gut. This can boost your energy levels and make you feel emotionally stronger. A 2020 study found that consuming your 5-a-day can significantly improve your mental wellbeing.

Fatty fish

Fatty or oily fish like salmon, tuna, or trout are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are abundant for our mental health. If you are currently suffering from anxiety or depression then consuming fatty fish regularly can significantly reduce your symptoms in just 6 weeks.


Nutrition is critical to your health and helps your body work properly. Make sure to eat a well-balanced diet with a range of macronutrients. This will guarantee that you get enough vitamins and minerals. Additionally, limit or avoid foods heavy in sugars, saturated fats, and empty carbohydrates. You should start noticing improvements in mental health in just 6 weeks.