The Expert Angle

Mental Health Wellness - Tips & Activities to Stay Grounded. Part IV

Mental Health Wellness - Tips & Activities to Stay Grounded. Part IV

Posted on: June 21, 2021 | By: Richard Lange, Ph.D., LPC, LCSW

"You are what you eat." You might have heard this phrase at some time in your life.   It comes from a French phrase from 1826, "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es." [Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are].  Slightly different, but you get the point. "You are what you eat" originated with an idea in Europe in 1800 that "the food one eats a bearing on one's state of mind and health." Well, people in 1800 were correct.  There is more and more evidence that food can have an impact on your mental health.

According to Dr. Jacka, the Director of the Food and Mood Center at Deakin University, "Eating a salad is not going to cure depression but here's a lot you can do to live your mood and improve your mental health, and it can be as simple as increasing your intake of plants and healthy foods." (New York Times May 18, 2021)

What are some of these foods?  The less processed foods you can eat, such as hot dogs, potato chips, and stuff like that, and the more natural foods, such as green, nuts, beans, and even a little dark chocolate, can improve your mood.  There are also recommendations for good "gut" foods (ones that will enhance your gut bacteria), such as yogurt, fermented foods, and seafood.  (New York Time 18 2021)

It also seems that people who switch to a healthier diet save money. One study found that the average person spent $138 on food a week, but after switching to more healthy diet, the average went down to $112.  

There is a lot of reading to be done on the topic, but to get started check out the following articles:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/food-and-mood-is-there-a-connection

https://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/articles/nutrition-and-mental-health.html