Eat well, feel happier – the link between diet and mental health.

Are you really what you eat? Studies have shown that bad food choices can have a negative effect on physical and mental health. With poor mental health costing business billions each year, it’s vital employers increase their understanding of the symptoms and causes.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, ‘what we eat and drink affects how we feel, think and behave’, with evidence that ‘good quality nutrition may play a role in contributing to the prevention of mental health problems.’ In a nutshell, the better we eat, the better we will feel – mentally and physically.

What is a good diet?

With countless contradicting articles on the internet about diet and healthy eating, it can be difficult to separate the fact from the fiction. To help you from getting lost in this maze of information, we’ve got pulled together some pointers on how to keep your mind and body healthy.

Just like the heart, stomach and liver, the brain is an organ that requires different amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and water to remain healthy.

Studies suggest that diets high in these food groups can help fight against memory loss and other cognitive issues. Diets lacking in certain nutrients can have an adverse effect, contributing towards mental health issues such as depression, stress and anxiety. For example, a deficiency of vitamin B3, found in wholegrains and vegetables, can lead to depression.

Our top tips for staying physically and mentally healthy are:

  • Take time out of your day to prepare freshly cooked meals.
  • Do not rush while eating.
  • Drink plenty of water (6-8 cups recommended).
  • Try to eat every 3-4 hours, without skipping a meal.
  • Eat a variety of foods from the different food groups on a regular basis.
  • Try to eat less salt.
  • Eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day.

Want to know more? Our mental health training courses can help make your workplace a more supportive and productive environment.

Find out more about our Occupational Health and Health Surveillance services.