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Digital Subscriptions > PlantBased > March 2019 > Mental Health

Mental Health

Could what we eat help improve our mental health?

FOOD FOR though

Mental health issues are an increasing worry in our society – an NHS Digital study suggested that one in six people, aged

16 or over, are suffering from a mental health problem. The increasing commonality of poor mental health has led to investigations into new waves of treatments and the dietary and lifestyle factors that could affect it. We’ve spoken to renowned therapist, Marisa Peer, to reveal the facts about food and psychology.

FOOD AND THE BRAIN: THE CONNECTION

Food is essential for our mental health. Hippocrates said ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’ and that’s still absolutely true. Our mental health is affected by the food we eat, particularly by essential oils. The word essential is a bit of a giveaway, for example, the essential oils that are found in olives, nuts and seeds are an imperative part of our diet. A lot of the modern day depression that we see is because we lack these oils – whereas the Mediterranean diet, which has long been promoted as the best diet for health, happiness and longevity, features plenty of these oils.

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About PlantBased

Welcome to the start of spring. *Cue the shocked reactions and sharp intakes of breath*. You may be mentally tutting at my overzealous attitude toward the change in season, and, admittedly, if you’re reading this in mid-February, it’s probably still cold and dreary outside, but come March, it’s a whole different matter. After surviving the long, dark months of winter, March seems like a scene plucked from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The days are slowly starting to get longer and brighter, and we might even be seeing a few fresh buds poke their little heads out through the dew-soaked grass. Spring is one of my favourite seasons – not only because we finally have the chance of a little sunshine, but equally because the sight of a new-born bunny, peeping out from its warren, or a fuzzy little duckling waddling after its mother, is one of the purest, most heart-warming visions this wonderful world has to offer. Spending even just a short amount of time outside – away from the demands of phone calls, emails and social media – and taking the time to appreciate these small details can be a useful exercise in mindfulness. We often underestimate the importance of mindfulness and doing things purely for their cathartic effect, but finding your own small ways to improve and maintain your mental health is imperative, especially when living in a world so often overloaded with negative news, societal crises and the pressure to validate your worth through Instagram likes. Turn to page 50 to hear from expert psychologist, Marisa Peer, on how a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle could dramatically improve your mental health. Also this month, we’ll be looking at easy ways to live gluten-free; how to make your own Ethiopian spice mix and the truth about sugar and sweeteners, and which of them we should really be eating. Have a happy, healthy and peaceful month.