You hear the word “nutrition” a lot, but do you know what it is exactly?
“Nutrition” is how the food we consume provides nourishment, which affects our bodies and how we feel. Different macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) play an important role in how our body works.
The main nutrients our body needs include:
What affects your body affects your mind, and what affects your mind affects your body. As mentioned, different macro- and micronutrients play a role in how your body works and feels. Research shows that low levels of certain vitamins and micronutrients, especially vitamin D and vitamin B-12, can increase risk for depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to play a vital role in brain development and cell signaling. (They also have anti-inflammatory properties.) Selenium, which is a mineral, has also been shown to affect anxiety levels. Getting more of these vitamins in your diet or in supplements can improve both your mood and your general health.
Other research has shown that, in addition to specific vitamin deficiencies, overall diet can also impact mental health. A diet high in healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is associated with a lower risk of depression while a diet high in meats, refined grains, and highly processed foods is associated with a higher risk of depression.
The past couple of decades has shown a glut of research on the gut-brain connection.
Our gut “microbiome” is made up of the healthy bacteria in our intestines. It forms a protective barrier and helps us digest food. Our microbiome is heavily affected by what we eat, which then impacts how our brain functions.
Further, some research has shown that up to 90% of our body’s serotonin (a neurotransmitter affecting mood and cognition) is produced in the gut. And, certain foods also trigger a release of different neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine.
This all goes to show that a healthy diet plays a huge role in our overall health—from our brain (and mental health) to the functioning of our entire body.
The key to long-term health is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating nutritiously, maintaining a weight that is healthy for you (which can include meal planning), and getting enough exercise. It may sound straightforward, but the fact is that it’s more complex than that. Everybody (and every body) is different, so what works for someone else might not work for you. To top it all off, there’s so much new research all the time that it can be hard to keep track.
That’s why Cerebral now offers two new care plans focusing on nutrition: Nutrition Management and Nutrition & Medication Management. Both plans include a personal nutritionist who will help you every step of the way so you can become the healthiest version of yourself. All Cerebral nutritionists are also registered dieticians, which requires additional training.
A nutritionist is an expert of food and nutrients who will work to help you achieve your health or dietary goals. This includes helping you:
Many physical health conditions related to depression can also be managed with dietary changes, including heart disease and diabetes. A nutritionist can help you figure out how your diet and lifestyle might be impacting your mental health, and what positive changes you can make.
If you’re ready to improve your nutrition, mental health, and overall wellness, there’s a custom team waiting for you! Our nutrition plans have launched in the following select states, and we will look to expand that list soon:
Start with our nutritional assessment and get started today!
Clinically reviewed by Chelsea Jackle, MFN, RDN, LD