Functional Health: The Link Between Diet and Mental Health Issues

Functional Health: The Link Between Diet and Mental Health Issues

Most everyone understands the connection between your diet and the wellness of your body, but few are aware that your nutrition is also linked to your mental health.

Continued research on the topic of nutrition and mental health keeps suggesting that the two are linked. Dr. M Rameen Ghorieshi and our team at Palo Alto Mind Body have a functional health approach, addressing the whole person rather than just treating symptoms. We stay on the cutting edge of our industry, remaining updated on the newest finds about how to improve your mental health. Here’s what we need you to know.

Functional Health: How nutrition affects your mental health

We continue to learn that your diet affects your emotional, mental, and social health. But when focusing on your mental health, we’ve tapped into deeper discoveries. 

Functional Medicine, sometimes called Nutritional psychiatry, is a rising practice that recommends food and supplements to support your mental health.

When you don’t get a sufficient amount of nutrients in your diet, you’re at risk for developing mental health disorders.

For example, B vitamins play a key role in helping your brain development and cognitive abilities. People with schizophrenia have shown lower levels of serum vitamin B6 and B9 (folate) compared to non-psychiatric people.

In addition, people with dementia and schizophrenia have also shown deficiencies in vitamin D. This is important for modulating neurotransmitter release, which carries chemical signals from one nerve cell to the next targeted cell, keeping your body functioning as it should.

The bottom line is that your food affects your brain. Your gut has trillions of living microbes that are connected to chemical messengers that keep your body functioning at its optimal performance. They help regulate your:

Because of the gut-brain connection, your gut has actually been nicknamed your “second brain.”

What to eat

Now that you know your gut and brain are connected, you need to know what type of diet you should eat.

Though there is still a great deal of research continuing on this subject, studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet and the Japanese diet have lowered the risk of depression and other mental health disorders. Why? The difference is based on the vegetables, fruits, seafood, and unprocessed grains ingested. These diets provide a healthy balance of fats and carbohydrates.

In addition, these diets don’t have any processed or refined foods or sugars, which seem to be staples in the “Western” diet. The unprocessed foods in the Mediterranean and Japanese diets are also fermented, which causes them to act as probiotics.

Next steps

When you book an appointment with our team, our functional health approach offers an evaluation of your diet and guidance on how to make the necessary changes to help your gut align with your brain, so you can experience healthy mental health. You might be surprised at the difference your diet can make.

To learn more about the gut and brain connection to your mental health, schedule a consultation today by calling 650-681-2900. You can also book online anytime at any of our offices in the surrounding Bay Area in South Bay, North Bay, East Bay, Peninsula, or San Francisco, California. 

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