Mental Health and Food

BBC reports on the revolutionary effect food can have in improving the lives of those living with mental illnesses. “A landmark 2015 article in the prestigious Lancet journal stated that nutrition may be as important to mental health as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.” Additionally, citing a study Australian study, the article emphasizes, “a mediterranean diet significantly helped many patients with severe depression within 12 weeks.” As the article points out, dietary changes are not routine practice for patients of mental health issues among their primary care physicians and psychiatrists. In residential treatment programmes, on the other hand, a focus on diet, nutrition, specialised treatment programmes, and learning the skills to cook for themselves after treatment are essential.

Food is translated into energy for the body. Logically, bad food creates bad energy and good food creates good energy. There is little coincidence as to why a changed diet leads to feeling better, having more energy, sleeping better, and experiencing less problems physically as well as mentally. In addition, numerous studies have started to link mental health to the bacteria produced in the gut. When the stomach digests food it creates good or bad bacteria. Increasing amounts of evidence indicate that good gut bacteria might lead to a happier mood and improved mental health.


Generally, there are rules and guidelines to eating for better mental health, including:

  • Reduced sugar intake: Sugar is alright to consume in small amounts on rare occasions. Though the body seems to like sugar because of the intense way it reacts to and craves it, sugar is actually quite toxic for the body. Sugar can act like stimulant amphetamine drugs with many similar negative effects including addiction.

  • Increased intake of Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, avocado, coconut oil, and other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for nutrition in mental health recovery. The brain relies on amino acids of this kind to function. Without a steady source of them, the brain doesn’t operate at its most optimum level, which can lead to chemical imbalances and poor decision making. Omega-3 fatty acids only come from food, making these food types a necessity.

  • Focus on fruits, vegetables, and nutrient rich foods: To get all the vitamins and nutrients the body needs, one would have to take a lot of pill based supplements. Vitamins and nutrients occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in produce, especially fresh, local, and organic produce, provides sufficient nutrients.


Smarmore provides carefully curated meals to clients each day in accordance to their specific dietary needs. Working with a locally renown catering company, our meals are made fresh from local ingredients sourced daily. Creating optimum health in body, mind, and spirit, our residential treatment programmes help clients achieve real change. For information, speak with one of our caring staff members today at +353 41 214 5111.

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