You’ve heard it enough times on the radio during your morning commute through Oakland. You’ve seen enough beautiful bodies jogging through the Bay area to know it. You’ve read enough health and wellness blogs to get it: Your body loves a tall glass of water. It craves fruits and veggies, and runs optimally on just the right amount of protein and fiber. Throw in 30 good minutes of daily exercise, and you’re likely to feel pretty fit.
But what about your mind?
Are those things enough to ensure you’re mentally fit as well? Well, to be sure, the mind and body are connected.
It stands to reason that healthy thinking happens best in a hospitable environment. In fact, recent research indicates that depression, anxiety, and personality disorders benefit from nutritional supplementation.
Let’s look at what we know:
Nutritional supplements can help offset the nutritional deficiencies that contribute to mental disorders.
Affordable, manageable disease prevention is much preferred to lengthy expensive cures. Increasing awareness of dietary deficiencies may help head off mental health trouble at the pass. In the 2008 Indian Journal of Psychiatry article, ”Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses,” researchers noted:
“On the basis of accumulating scientific evidence, an effective therapeutic intervention is emerging, namely nutritional supplement/ treatment. These may be appropriate for controlling and to some extent, preventing depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism, and addiction.”
Nutritional supplementation helps seal “holes” in our diets. They restore optimal brain and gut function. Improving these functions relieves negative thinking, sleep deprivation, chronic pain, and other mental health detractors.
Science tells us, too, that significant inflammation almost always accompanies mental health challenges. Processed foods and sedentary lifestyles mean that supplementation is fast becoming necessary. It may even be critical to stemming the trend of nutritional deficiency and resulting inflammation.
Wellness experts show a link between depression, chronic inflammation, and problems in the gut. They maintain that nutrient supplementation is likely so effective because vitamins and minerals are potent anti-inflammatories. A theory that appears to hold up under scientific scrutiny.
Nutritional supplements can provide a natural enhancement to, or replacement for, prescription meds.
Many people want to feel better, not dazed or slowed down by meds or anything “unnatural.” Thus, natural alternatives have become more desirable. Knowledgeable and responsible supplementation often removes the need for large amounts of medication. This is increasingly attractive to patients.
Natural substances that ease distress while enhancing prescription drug effectiveness are attractive as well.
Nutritional supplements can reduce rejection of other mental health treatments.
Supplementation is supported by evidence proving its effectiveness, along with a safety record that far outpaces the pharmaceutical industry.
Is it any wonder that natural supplements often prove far less threatening or worrisome to many patients? This alone leads to increased cooperation by patients throughout the entire treatment process. With supplementation, therapists report fewer issues with side effects and treatment non-compliance. Thus, the chances of lasting mental health improvement improve.
So, what’s the takeaway?
Understanding the interrelated nature of your mind and body is vital when making nutritional choices. Loss of appetite, sleep, and self-control are markers of taxed mental health. Something basic and fundamental may be lacking if you are experiencing these issues.
As you seek help, it may be wise for you and your therapist to track your nutritional intake along with your moods. It may make all the difference between just managing mental health problems and thriving mentally.
At Healing Happens Therapy, Kelly Montgomery is a licensed clinical therapist as well as a certified nutritional advisor.