When most of us think of our diets, we tend to focus on how it affects our bodies. But the foods we eat also play a role in how we feel mentally as well, and an imbalanced diet can mess with our heads just as much as our stomachs. Certain nutrient deficiencies can affect your mental health, so if you’ve been feeling off — whether you’ve been experiencing more anxiety than normal or are feeling fatigued or depressed — you might want to take a look at your diet to see if there are some food groups missing. Here is a quick list: Omega-3s; Vitamin D; B12; Magnesium; Folate; Zinc; and Selenium.
“Food plays a major role in our mental health, as it impacts our mood, anxiety level, ability to focus, and every other aspect of brain function,” licensed clinical psychologist and board certified nutrition specialist Nicole Beurkens, PhD, CNS tells Bustle. “Research has shown that eating diets high in sugar, chemicals, and unhealthy fats can lead to symptoms of many mental health disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and more. People with diets deficient in proteins, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables are also at risk of not having enough of the core nutrient building blocks necessary for producing the brain chemicals needed to properly regulate our mood and behavior.”