Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Diet Helps Mental Health; Studies Show Nutrients Are Critical for Brain Structure and Optimal Function

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Diet Helps Mental Health; Studies Show Nutrients Are Critical for Brain Structure and Optimal Function

Article excerpt

Byline: Jerome Sarris and Dr Drew Ramsey

DIETARY nutrients are critical for brain structure and function, so they have a potentially profound impact on mental health. An increasingly robust body of research points to the detrimental effect of unhealthy diets and nutrient deficiencies, and to the protective value of healthy diets - along with select nutritional supplements as required - for maintaining and promoting mental health.

Research literature suggests dietary improvement and nutritional interventions may help reduce the risk, or even arrest the progression, of certain psychiatric disorders. Clinical studies support the use of certain nutrients, which influence a range of neurochemical activities beneficial for treating mental disorders, as medicinal supplements.

The best nutritional advice at this point is to cultivate an unprocessed wholefood diet, with judicious prescriptive use of nutrients (if required) based on advice from a qualified health

professional.

Here are seven key nutrients that may positively influence brain health, and the foods they appear in.

1. Omega-3

Omega-3 fats can be found in nuts, seeds and oysters, although the highest amounts exist in oily fish such as sardines, salmon (especially king salmon), anchovies and mackerel. Due to higher levels of mercury, larger fish, such as mackerel, should be consumed in moderation.

2. B vitamins and folate

Folate is found in abundance in leafy green vegetables, legumes, whole grains, brewer's yeast and nuts. Unprocessed meats, eggs, cheese, dairy, whole grains and nuts are, in general, richest in B vitamins. If you're going to take supplements, it's advisable to take B vitamins together as they have a synergistic effect.

3. Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks for creating proteins, from which brain circuitry and brain chemicals are formed. Amino acids are found in any source of protein, most notably meats, seafood, eggs, nuts and legumes. …

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