Nutritional psychiatrists say eating veg can improve your mood

Wednesday, January 10, 2024. From

Nutritional psychiatrists say eating veg can improve your mood

In the burgeoning field of nutritional psychiatry there are voices that claim that the right mix of foods and nutrients may serve as a buffer against stress, anxiety, depression, and a range of other psychological issues. Studies have shown, for example, people who follow a Mediterranean diet tend to have lower risks for depression than people who don’t. Piling your plate with foods like these may even be better for mental health than social support, a known psychological booster.

Researchers are still learning about exactly how food influences mental health, but it seems the gut microbiome plays a key part. Trillions of microbes live in your digestive system, working to break down components of the food you eat and interacting with numerous other parts of the body along the way. Just as they nourish the physical body, nutrient-dense foods nurture the microbes in your gut, which translates to a range of benefits, including, research suggests, better mental health.

Although the science isn’t settled, some researchers have even posited the mineral zinc, which is found in foods including oysters and nuts, may boost levels of a protein that promotes new growth in the brain, potentially leading to better cognitive function and mental health, says Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.

Do you want to improve your mental health? How about cruciferous vegetables: Veggies including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and arugula contain compounds that reduce inflammation, which is linked to a range of health issues including depression and anxiety. In one 2022 study, people who ate multiple servings of cruciferous veggies each day had significantly lower self-reported stress levels than people who ate less.