Mental health is an issue that affects millions of Americans. According to MentalHealth.gov, one in five adults experienced a mental health issue, and one in ten young people experienced a period of major depression. Signs of mental disorder may show as early as 14 years old, however, less than 20% of cases with diagnosable problems get treated.
When mental health issues are treated properly, it can result in you being able to live, work, and enjoy life to the fullest. However, if left untreated, mental health can affect your diet, sleep, stress, gut health, and exercise. Mental Health America shared a toolkit on the impact of mental health.
Diet and Nutrition
Both your physical and mental health are impacted by the quality of food you consume. Studies have shown those with a diet high in junk and processed foods are 80% more likely to have depression. Healthy diets including the consumption of more fruits, vegetables, fish, and other healthy foods are used as effective treatment methods for depression. A study showed one in three participants saw full relief of symptoms with a healthier diet.
Sleep is a major key to a healthy body but more importantly, a healthy mind. Sleep accounts for our moods, memories, healthy organs, immune system, among other things. Sleep re-energizes cells, and increases the space between brain cells to allow free flowing fluid to clear away toxins. Poor sleep quality can lead to manic episodes, paranoia, anxiety, and depression.
There’s a very important connection between the gut and the brain. Your gut connects with the brain through hormones and neurotransmitters that help exchange messages. Gastrointestinal symptoms like indigestions, acid reflux, heartburn, diarrhea, and etc., are linked to mental health problems. Changes in your gut can be caused from a stress response, which may ultimately lead to diseases like Parkinson’s and autism.
An hour of exercise has been linked to lower levels of anxiety and substance use disorders and less likely to have panic disorders, phobias, and depression. Exercise plays an important role in brain function in terms of protecting nerve cells, sending messages, and releasing endorphins among other things.
Mental health is a very important issue that we must continue to address. If you are experiencing some symptoms, or have some general questions, reach out to your doctor and get the assistance you need right away.