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The Nutrition and Mental Health Connection


You may not know it but what the body takes in can actually have a bearing on how your brain functions. There is a link between nutrition and mental health and knowing what is best for you and your brain can help you ingest the kind of food that can help you feed your body as well as your brain.

The connection between nutrition and mental health is often seen as the connection between the amount of energy certain foods generate in the human body and the amount of energy that the brain needs to function real well. Examples that prove the veracity of this connection between nutrition and mental health are the differences in the thinking and behavioral patterns a well fed person exhibits as compared to a hungry person. If you have been fed well, you can get enough energy from the food you have consumed, therefore, the brain can process information better than when you are deprived of food. Another way to see this is through logical thinking. A person who has eaten well can easily rationalize certain judgments that need to be made while a person who is suffering from hunger pangs may not be able to get beyond his thoughts of food long enough to get to a rational conclusion to a similar problem.

Different nutrients also have different effects on the human psyche. This is where the link between specific nutrition and mental health can be seen. Carbohydrates, protein, fats and other specific substances that a body takes in generate different mental reactions. Carbohydrates, for instance, are known to affect the person's mood as well as his or her behavior. The chain reaction that carbohydrates produce starts with the creation of insulin which then triggers the production of trytophan, depending on the amount of insulin produced which is also dependent on the amount of carbohydrate laden foods being eaten. The more trytophan produced, the more serotonin is produced which then gives off a sedating effect that makes people feel sleepy after eating a carbohydrate heavy meal.

This chain reaction is one perfect example of the link that nutrition and mental health has. Another good example of the nutrition and mental health connection is the effects alcohol has on the brain and perceptive abilities of a person. It can also affect the sleep patterns of the person who takes in a lot of the substance. Other food substances like protein and fat also have their effects on the brain and the moods a person exhibits. This goes to prove that your brain can function better and your moods can greatly improve if you know what food is best for you and your brain.

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