Mental health issues are increasing significantly not just in India but throughout the world. One of the major reasons behind such a sudden rise is the ignorance of the common masses on their mental health.
Usually, people focus more on their physical health throughout their lives while neglecting the fact that mental health is as important as their physical health. Although stress plays an important role in mental health problems, diet, as well as exercise, are also critical factors for the deterioration of mental health. The importance of diet and exercise for mental health cannot be neglected at all.
One must know that stress can be caused by any life events i.e. it could be because your exams are approaching or you have an interview scheduled or you scored fewer marks than your friend. This kind of stress affects badly on the mind and causes many health problems. Some common mental health problems are anxiety disorders, depression, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc.
Nowadays, these disorders are common among people of all age groups and are increasing due to the ever-changing competitive world. But other than the natural factors, it could be affected by low intake of nutrition or less physical exercises as well.
Role of Nutrition in Mental Health
There is a popular phrase- "We are what we eat" and this implies not just physically but also mentally as balancing both acts as a treat for the mind. This means not just stress but diet also plays a significant role in maintaining mental health. This fact rules out the common belief that diet affects only our body and not mind however this is not true as diet also affects our mental health. This means a balanced diet leads to a healthy mind while lack of nutrition in the diet causes many mental disorders.
Below we will see the role of nutrition in mental health to make you better understand the concept.
Several scientific theories have proved that there is a strong link between certain diets and their impacts on mental health. According to researchers, poor diet plays a major role in worsening mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. A poor diet or malnutrition causes a deficiency of vitamins in your body such as low levels of Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 cause depression, poor memory, and fatigue.
The science behind mood and food is that our gastrointestinal tract contains millions of bacteria that lead to the production of neurotransmitters (Chemical substances that carry a message from gut to brain) one such example is dopamine. A balanced diet promotes the growth of good bacteria which in turn leads to more production of neurotransmitters while a poor diet that contains a lot of junk food hampers the production which in turn leads to an unhealthy mind.
However, a diet rich in vegetables or a balanced diet can help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Thus a balanced diet is important to take care of mental health.
Role of Exercise for Mental Health
Mental health is not only about staying positive or eating healthy but staying fit as well. The role of exercise for mental health comes into the picture for maintaining a healthy mindset or a positive attitude. For a long time now exercise is also considered as the way to keep your body healthy by maintaining a healthy weight.
Exercise has a positive impact on depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders and also helps to relieve the stress, improve your sleep which in turn boosts your overall mood. Exercise is considered one of the best natural ways to get rid of anxiety, stress, and depression.
An increase in endurance to losing weight to get in shape can also increase self-esteem and increases self-satisfaction which in turn boosts mood.
The biological reason behind this is that the physical exercises increase endorphin levels in the body which is particularly released by the brain. You don't need to do extensive exercise to get rid of mental disorders but moderate exercise throughout the week will help you to reduce levels of anxiety and depression.
We saw the role of diet and exercise for mental health. Mental disorders or poor mental health can cause serious effects on your body and life. Thus taking care of mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health as even physical health cannot be improved when your mind is not delighted. So one must take care of mental health by having a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, calcium, and also by engaging in regular physical exercises.