“My psychologist encouraged me to shop and cook for myself, instead of buying takeaways. I’m eating better than I was and started walking every day, 4km or more sometimes. What with working part-time and having a cat too, my life has improved dramatically.”
Your brain needs a lot of nutrients to function and keep you well. Eating well helps to reduce the risk of physical health problems like heart disease and diabetes. It also helps with sleeping patterns, energy levels, and your general health.
You may have noticed that your mood often affects the types of food you choose, as well as how much you eat. Some foods can lift your mood, energy levels, and concentration, while others can have the opposite effect.
For example, eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains can reduce your risk of some mental health conditions such as depression, while eating foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat may increase your risk.
Having a healthy, balanced diet plays an important role in your overall health and wellbeing. Your GP can direct you to an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who can give you face-to-face support. Getting in touch with other people who have had challenges with healthy eating may also give you ideas on how to overcome your own challenges and improve your eating habits.
A closer look
Eating a 'rainbow' provides a healthy range of nutrients
Healthy eating is important for people living with mental illness
The gut has its own nervous system and gut health can affect mood
What we eat can affect how we feel
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool.