A balanced diet is essential for mental and physical wellness. Our brain has a high metabolic rate so it requires a large proportion of energy and nutrient intake. Diet deficient in vitamins and minerals has detrimental effects on brain health.
People are probably familiar with Vitamin B6, Folic acid and B12 but actually, there are eight different B vitamins. They are water-soluble so our body can not store them like fat-soluble Vitamins. Each member of B group has unique and diverse functions in our body. They have a paramount role in regulating metabolic pathways of protein, carbohydates and fats. Moreover, they are essential for red blood cell poduction, cell repair and DNA synthesis.
Vitamins in this goup are a:
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Biotin (B7)
- Folic Acid (B9)
- Cobalamine B12)
Among all vitamin B, certain vitamins are linked to mental health like: B1, B6, B12 and Folic acid. It is suggested by several studies that low levels of vitamins B like B3, B6, and B12 may lead to depression and anxiety. One study concluded that having a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grain nuts and olive oil is associated with low levels of depression.
Some studies have compared “traditional” diets like the #Mediterranean diet and the #traditional Japanese diet, high in vegetables and fruits, fish and seafood to a typical “Western” diet rich in processed, refined food and sugars and have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet.
Thiamine (B1): Thiamine is necessary for converting glucose into fuel for our body and cells in the brain. Thiamine also plays an important role in muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Its deficiency is very rare although chronic alcohol consumption may lead to thiamine deficiency.
Symptoms of Thiamine deficiency: Loss of sensation in hands and feet, loss of muscles and paralysis of lower leg. Thiamine deficiency also causes speech difficulties and mental confusion
Dietary sources of thiamine: thiamine is found in a variety of food so its deficiency is rare in people who are eating a healthy and balanced diet.
- Beef liver
- Black beans,lentils, fortified breakfasr cereal
Pyridoxin (B6); Pyridoxin has an important role in cell metabolism and nervous system . its deficiency may cause symptoms like:
- Difficulty in walking
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (loss of feeling or pins and needles in the hands caused by swelling of connective tissue in the wrist which presses on nerves)
Dietary souces of B 6; Pyridoxine or B6 found in a wide variety of foods like:
- Poultry like chicken or turkey
- Bread, whole grain cereals such as oatmeal,wheat germ and brown rice
Cobalamine (B12); It is essential for red cell production , DNA synthesis and integrity of myelin ( a component of nerve cell). its deficiency may cause symptoms like
- Memory loss
Dietary source of B12; This vitamin is exclusively found in food derived from animal hence vegan and vegetarian are increased risk of its deficiency.
- Diary products
Niacin (B3); it is important for the production of chemical responsible for mood and emotions. serotonin is a mood regulator chemical produced by our brain and niacin is essential fo converting tryptophan into serotonin. its deficiency can directly impact mood and emotions due to impaired production of serotonin.
Dietary source of vitamin B 3
- Liver, chicken, salmon
- whole wheat, Bran
- Mushrooms,peanuts, legume Nutritional yeast
Folic Acid or Folate; it is essential for DNA synthesis,Red cell production and its deficiency may cause Neural tube defects in the fetus.
- Green leafy vegetables
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- whole- grain bread
- Dried beans
Who needed vitamin B supplements; as vitamin B is normally found in wide vaierty of food and deficiencies are rar if you are eating a balanced diet, however people who are following a vegan diet may encounter deficiency .
- Pregnant women
- Lactating mothers
- Older patients
- People with certain medical conditions like celiac diseaes and inflammtory bowel diseases.
- People who are on certain medications like Metformin and anticonvulsants.
- People who had weight- loss surgeries.
What is the Bottom line .…
Mental wellness is associated with eating a balanced diet and by moving more. A good diet is proven to help you sleep better, make you more focused on good mood and better energy levels so choose your food wisely ………..
Eat plenty of #fruits and #vegetables.
Nuts and grain but avoid processed one
Lean protein like Fish good sources of vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids. sweets and fatty food should be special treats not staples of your diet.
”Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body ”