Dr. Gregory Jantz

How Nutritional Imbalance Can Affect Your Mental Health

December 31, 2020

God designed our bodies and the earth’s rich food sources to work in harmony, bringing us maximum health and wellness. Nutritious, fortifying foods not only support physical health but mental health as well. What you put in your mouth each day directly and dramatically affects your mood and mental health.

Let’s look at some concrete steps you can take to improve your diet and help you overcome anxiety, depression, and other mood destabilizers. 

  • Take the two-week food log challenge. Carefully track what you’ve been eating so you can spot areas for improvement and create better habits as you adjust your diet.
  • Conduct an inventory of your refrigerator and pantry to see how many foods you own that have sugars or sweeteners added.
  • Be extra vigilant on your upcoming shopping trips.
  • Lean on a support system. Getting healthy takes help—reach out to a friend or relative who can serve as an accountability partner.
  • Stop and intentionally evaluate how different you feel after four weeks on your new nutritional regimen.

The Culprits

Some of the main culprits leading to nutritional imbalance and potential depression and anxiety include processed foods, white flour, fried foods, and refined sugar.

When your energy levels are down from anxiety or depression, these “quick” foods can be highly tempting and temporarily satisfying. But eating them is not a good strategy for combatting depression. Good, nutritious foods and beverages will improve your mood and sense of well-being.

Look for foods rich in antioxidants, which can diminish the destructive effects of free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and premature aging).  Also, aim to replace high-sugar and high-fat foods with those high in fiber. This includes vegetables (particularly asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes), bananas, oatmeal, legumes and nuts, and grains such as barley, whole wheat, and oats.

Researchers have discovered that societies not consuming enough omega-3s may have higher rates of major depressive disorder. Good sources of omega-3s include fatty fish, nuts (especially walnuts), and dark green, leafy vegetables. 

The Importance of Hydration

In addition to eating nutritious foods, let’s talk about the importance of hydration. Scientists have identified a strong connection between dehydration and depression, noting that even mild dehydration will affect your moods.

Drink the equivalent of half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Drinking the right amount of water (not just liquids, but water) will help: 

  • Maintain proper balance of body fluids
  • Aid in weight loss
  • Energize muscles
  • Support kidney function
  • Assist with digestion
  • Keep skin looking good

How well you take care of your body impacts your energy level, physical health, and emotions. It affects your self-esteem, confidence, and even how well you think and perform mentally. Take simple steps that will send you on your way to greater health and healing.

Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE in Edmonds, Washington, voted a Top Ten Center For Depression Treatment in the United States. Dr. Jantz pioneered Whole Person Care in the 1980’s and is a world-renowned expert on eating disorders, depression, anxiety, technology addiction, and abuse. He is a leading voice and innovator in Mental Health utilizing a variety of therapies including nutrition, sleep therapy, spiritual counseling, and advanced DBT techniques. Dr. Jantz is a best-selling author of 40 books and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders, or other mental health challenges, call The Center at 888.771.5166 today.