The days are getting longer, the new year is right around the corner, and many folks are already planning out their resolutions. One that often tops the list is to improve physical health, but what’s equally important and oftentimes overlooked is cognitive health. While you may be altering your diet with the goal of shedding pounds, the fact of the matter is research shows that your diet and nutrition can also play a large role in your mental health as well. Our physical health, dietary choices, and mental health all impact one another, but linking nutrition to cognitive health is a fairly new aspect that research has delved deeper into.
Several studies aimed at linking nutrition and cognitive health show similarities, but when referencing our mental health, each study has its own intricacies. There are many mental health issues that are being explored as impacted by nutrition, including:
- Cognitive Deficits
While some reference our emotional well being, others relate solely to our cognitive abilities (or lack thereof). The manifestation of our cognitive and mental health into categorical symptoms may vary greatly, but new studies are showing that many of these varied issues can all be impacted by dietary choices. Unfortunately, there are many barriers associated with overcoming mental health issues, and some of these health concerns have larger obstacles than others.
Stigmas associated with certain mental deficits or cognitive health issues can cause some to overlook their need for nutritional changes, but many times the issue lies in the fact that many sufferers simply don’t recognize the need for change. The unrecognized need for care can be the largest barrier to seeking treatment and changing one’s diet. This is why it’s so important to encourage open conversations about mental health concerns, as discussion is the key to diagnosis.
“This barrier has a significant impact on health and work productivity, and is an area where employers can focus efforts to reduce work productivity loss,” says Dr. Carolyn Dewa, head of CAMH’s Centre for Research on Employment and Workplace Health.
New research continues to make a strong case for the link between lifestyle and mental health. Even if nutrition can’t be used to treat all cases of depression, it can play a positive role in preventative health.
HSG offers Nutrition Workshops, and the session content can be designed to suit any requested themes/topics. By giving your staff important nutritional information and tips for healthy cooking, you empower them to make wiser choices about the food they eat and how to maintain their long-term mental and physical health.