Does it matter what we eat for our mentalhealth? Accumulating data suggests that this may indeed be the case and that diet and nutrition are not only critical for human physiology and body composition, but also have significant effects on mood and mental wellbeing. While the determining factors of mentalhealth are complex, increasing evidence indicates a strong association between a poor diet and the exacerbation of mood disorders, including anxiety and depression, as well as other neuropsychiatric conditions.
There are common beliefs about the health effects of certain foods that are not supported by solid evidence and the scientific evidence demonstrating the unequivocal link between nutrition and mentalhealth is only beginning to emerge. Current epidemiological data on nutrition and mentalhealth do not provide information about causality or underlying mechanisms.
Future studies should focus on elucidating mechanism. Randomized controlled trials should be of high quality, adequately powered and geared towards the advancement of knowledge from population-based observations towards personalized nutrition. Here, we provide an overview of the emerging field of nutritionalpsychiatry, exploring the scientific evidence exemplifying the importance of a well-balanced diet for mentalhealth.
We conclude that an experimental medicine approach and a mechanistic understanding is required to provide solid evidence on which future policies on diet and nutrition for mentalhealth can be based.
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