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How Nutrition Impacts Mood

It has become a well-known fact that food can impact mood. A healthier diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will lessen blood sugar fluctuations and create a nutritionally balanced diet.*

Some contributing factors include:

  • Skipping meals: Missing a meal, specifically breakfast, can lead to lower blood sugar and leave you feeling tired.
  • Eliminating entire food groups: This will result in a reduction of a variety of food making it harder to get the nutrients you need. Low levels of some nutrients are associated with low energy and a worsening mood. These include zinc, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • High intake of refined carbohydrates:  Consuming too many processes carbohydrates can cause blood sugars to rise and fall rapidly. This can then lead to a decrease in energy levels and an increase in irritability.

**A recent study shows that a Mediterranean diet can help with depression.

The participants in this study consisted of 72 young men aged 18-25. Some were put on a Mediterranean diet. This consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, bread, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, moderate servings of meat, and red wine. The control group was given befriending therapy where they were provided social support.

An assessment was given at the start of the study, at 6 weeks, and then at 12 weeks. It was found that the young men on the Mediterranean diet had higher positive outcomes in regards to mood than those in the “social support” group. They measured significantly higher on the Beck Depression Inventory Scale and a quality-of-life measurement.

According to the findings in this study along with other known facts regarding nutrition, diet should be considered when treating depression or preventing a decline in mental health. A Registered Dietitian can play an important role in helping with meal planning and food choices that meet an individual’s nutritional needs.

One example is the role of serotonin and its relationship to adequate nutrition. Serotonin is a chemical that makes us feel happy. About 90% of serotonin is made by our gut microbiome. Evidence shows that these microbes can communicate with the brain through the gut-brain axis. Microbes need fiber to be healthy and strong. Fiber is found in legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These same foods are found in the Mediterranean diet.

A Mediterranean Diet is also known to lower a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and other conditions. It is always important to eat a variety of food groups and limit refined carbohydrate intake. If we can keep our bodies healthy and strong, we will see a positive impact both physically and mentally.

If you have diabetes, make time for DSME and discover these benefits for yourself.

We here at Integrated Diabetes Services can meet your individual needs. Our diabetes educators focus on a variety of specialties. Some of these include education for newly diagnosed, type 1 and pregnancy, optimizing use of devices, weight loss for insulin users, as well as insulin management for athletes.  

For more information or to get involved in DSME, call 877-735-3648 (in N America) or +1 (610) 642-6055 (outside N America).

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