A recent study showed again: Those who eat unhealthily, often also have a troubled psyche. Anyone who then changes their diet can often improve their mental well-being very quickly.

Those who eat healthy are less likely to become depressed

Hardly anyone doubts that the quality of the diet has a direct impact on physical health. It was not known for a long time that the psyche is also influenced by diet or has not been proven. However, more and more studies are dealing with these relationships and show that a healthy diet and lifestyle is also extremely important for mental health.

As early as 2010, a study of over 1000 women found that those who ate healthy food suffered less from depression or anxiety disorders than women who eat unhealthily. Other possible influencing factors such as educational status, income or age were taken into account. A diet was considered healthy if it consisted primarily of vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grain products. On the other hand, the more heavily processed and sugared products, white flour products, deep-fried foods and alcoholic beverages a diet contained, the more unhealthy it was classified. Ultimately, however, the researchers at the time did not rule out the possibility that it could also be the other way round, i.e. that you only start eating unhealthily when you have depression.

Healthy nutrition as therapy for depression

However, more recent findings indicate that the unhealthy food is there first and only then does the depression or other psychological complaints appear. Yes, in the meantime we even know in concrete terms that switching to a healthy diet contributes to a noticeable improvement in mental illnesses. In the case of depression , a healthy diet should therefore be used therapeutically, as it can lead to an improvement after just three months – according to a study from 2017.

From the same year, another study showed a significantly better mood in the test subjects who had increased their fruit and vegetable consumption ( fruit and vegetables improve mental well-being ). And in 2018 it was discovered that raw food is better for the psyche than cooked food – most likely due to the higher vital substance content of raw food.

How meat and sausage products can affect the psyche

People with mental illness often consume more meat and sausage products , according to a study that examined people with manic disorders. One suspects that it could be the curing salts (nitrites) contained there that lead to the mental disorders. Firstly, no corresponding correlations could be observed with other food groups in this study and, secondly, animal studies had shown that rats develop psychoses if they have to eat food containing nitrite for a while.

Caffeine and fast food: Unfavorable for psychological complaints

Foscher from two New York universities ( Binghamton University and Stony Brook University ) published another study on this topic in January 2021 in the renowned journal Nutrients. Participants were 2,600 people from five regions (North America, Europe, North Africa, Asia and the Middle East). Various correlations were found, e.g. B. high caffeine and fast food consumption in people with mental health problems and greater mental well-being in women who did sport.

For the sake of the psyche better no breakfast

In the case of women over 30 years of age, the New York study also found that those who had breakfast regularly were more likely to suffer from mental illness, so we would like to point out the advantages of intermittent fasting, where the first meal of the day is only is taken around 11 a.m. or later and has already been shown to be recommended for improving mental health. The same study found that before the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was enacted, mental health coverage was often lacking from medical insurance plans sold in the market.

Vegan nutrition for the psyche

The diet can also be purely plant-based, as such – according to a study from 2015 can have a very positive effect on the psyche. However, there are also different study results here, but the reasons why a person decides to live vegan should first be considered. Anyone who has been sick before will not always be in a good mood, not even if they suddenly start eating vegan.

And those who change their diet for ethical reasons are usually considered to be thoughtful and often highly sensitive people who find many circumstances in the modern world to be depressing and are accordingly prone to depression. A vegan person can therefore not be compared 1: 1 with a person who does not give any thought to their diet or where they come from.

In addition, the various vegan forms of nutrition must be taken into account, as you can also eat vegan and very unhealthy. In any case, the supply of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D should be ensured, two nutrients that are particularly important for a healthy psyche. You can find this and many other tips for improving your mental health in our article on holistic measures for depression .

Distance training to become a holistic nutritionist

Are you interested in what’s in our food and want to know how nutrients and vital substances affect the body? Do you want a healthy life for yourself, your family and fellow human beings? Nutritionists are popular – but the holistic aspect that is needed for sustainable health is often forgotten when giving advice. At the Academy of Naturopathy, you will get to know the connections between lifestyle and diet as well as physical and psychological well-being.

The Academy of Naturopathy trains interested people like you to become holistic nutritionists in around 16 months .