Today I would like to discuss the importance of nutrition when it comes to mental health.
With all the advancements in medical treatments over the past 30-40 years, you would assume that depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues have lessened over time. Sadly that isn’t the case.
Here are some stats:
Currently, almost 1 in 4 adults in the UK suffer from a common mental illness (depression, anxiety) in any given year.
Nearly half (43.4%) of adults think that they have had a mental health condition at some point in their life. This breaks down to 35.2% of men and 51.2% of women.
A fifth of men (19.5%) and a third of women (33.7%) have had diagnoses confirmed by professionals. – Fundamental Facts about mental Health 2016
The issue only got worse with the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020/21 as is reported by the latest Digital NHS statistics, 1.54 million people were in contact with mental health services at the end of January 2022.
During this period a record number of more than 400,000 children a month were being treated for mental health problems, which shows an unprecedented wellbeing crisis in children and young adults.
The natural reaction when challenged by mental health issues is to simply go and see your GP and get ‘medication’. For a large portion of us, it will work at least in the short term.
However ask yourself, wouldn’t it feel better if you could treat and even reduce the risk of (depression or anxiety) through holistic means and not have to worry about potential side effects?
This fascinating lecture by Clinical Psychologist, Julia Rucklidge explains the importance of nutrition and its role in mental health.
She has found that despite the wide array of mental health treatments on the market depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are rising instead of declining.
Like many doctors, Dr. Rucklidge was taught that diet was trivial when it came to treating poor mental health. She has since discovered that this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Over the course of decades worth of research, she discovered that proper nutrition is “a safe and viable way to avoid, treat and lessen mental illness.”
One of her studies was a placebo trial that perfectly highlights this claim.
She treated one test group of ADHD sufferers with vitamins and minerals and then gave a second test group a placebo.
After 8 weeks, twice as many participants responded positively in the micro-nutrient group compared to the placebo group.
Those who continued with vitamins and minerals treatment continued to respond well whereas the placebo group suffered worsening symptoms.
She also tested micro-nutrients on patients suffering from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In all cases, participants showed improvement.
Her conclusion was that poor nutrition significantly increases the risk of developing mental health issues.
Nutrition and DMC Fitness
Like Dr Rucklidge we believe that proper nutrition is the best medicine and we successfully educate our students on the benefits of healthy eating and supplementation.
When you combine healthy eating, correct vitamin and mineral supplementation, and regular physical activity the transformative effects are powerful.
All of our most successful students do follow our guidance, improving their nutrition levels and their exercise habits. This not only transforms them physically. As they see the physical changes combined with fueling their bodies with healthy food and the best nutrition possible, they begin to feel better emotionally and mentally.
As a coach, it is truly beautiful to see.
If you are having mental health issues at the moment and are considering going down the quick fix pharmaceutical route, stop and consider altering your eating habits first.
As Dr. Julia Rucklidge suggests it may be more beneficial for you in the long term.
If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, nutrition or with your health and fitness and want to talk about it further, why not get in touch and I’ll try to help.
Until next time, “Strength for Life”,
Davie McConnachie is Scotland’s leading health and wellness coach, multi-award-winning gym owner, motivational speaker, and the founder of DMC Fitness, a fitness education facility known as the premier choice for 1-2-1 personal training. He has inspired thousands of people to fall in love with fitness – his true mission in life.
In his own fitness journey, Davie has athletically competed in Mixed Martial Arts fighting for Scottish and British titles, boxed for Scotland’s top amateur boxing team, and competed internationally in Girevoy (kettlebell) Sport.
Diving into the world of sports and wellness has helped Davie to deal with his own inner demons. He. overcame many dark times using his own unique method to complete his cycle of H.E.A.L.I.N.G.