A combination of multiple healthy food items.

How Good Nutrition Can Help with Mental Health: Nutrition Month at Elevations RTC

When working on mental health issues, there are so many contributing factors that people may not realize initially. It is a change in lifestyle overall, and those who can focus on positive habits usually see more success than others. At Elevations RTC, we have noticed that nutrition can play a role in improving mental health throughout the years. Just how much of an impact can it make? By making smarter decisions and eating a balanced diet overall, students will see a lot more change throughout the year.

Nutrition: not just about physical health

The most common way to look at nutrition is that it affects a person’s physical health. Many people are counting calories, looking at saturated fats, and crunching other numbers to see how it will affect their body and overall look.

What needs to be stressed more often is how a diet can affect a person mentally. This can be anything from how a person is thinking throughout the day to how they handle problematic issues like not getting enough rest or overall stress.

These are a few tips that have been shown to work for those struggling with their mental health. Instead of searching and searching for answers, a few things in the diet might be a simple change to smooth everything out as it should be.

Mediterranean Diet

There have been several studies done on all of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. When a person consumes vegetables and olive oil in their diet, it can benefit much more than just appearance. This diet, in particular, has been gaining traction as one of the better options for fighting against depression and anxiety.

A woman smiles as she practices good nutrition.

From a physical perspective, the Mediterranean diet is obviously going to be very beneficial for people trying to reach a certain target weight. The good news is that at elevations RTC, there is an opportunity for students to follow a Mediterranean type of diet fairly closely. It might take some switching up as far as the mindset is concerned, but it is overall a very positive experience for the students.

If there is a long-term, sustainable diet that can also help with mental health, this is the one to go with. It is not as much of a fad diet as it is a way to make healthier decisions in the long run. It is not going to be for everyone, but it is a way to eat healthier and see noticeable improvements all around.

Vitamin B12

While there are many claims out there that link nutrition to improved mental health, Vitamin B12 stands out for its effectiveness. There have been countless studies on the link between a healthier amount of B12 and fighting against certain problems that many teenagers face throughout their lives. Whether it is fatigue or depression, or even something like memory issues, Vitamin B12 makes people more alert throughout the day. Either eating more food with vitamin B12 or taking a supplement to get those nutrients, is one of the best ways to go.

Fiber

Most plant-based foods are very high in fiber, and that means that the body can absorb sugars at a slower pace. This is good news overall because there are fewer rushes for sugar that the body feels. This balances out the body and allows for a healthier day-to-day life overall.

Magnesium

Finding this crucial mineral in foods can prove to be very beneficial for any person’s mental health. With a direct connection to the mental side of things, a lack of magnesium can affect the gut bacteria that helps control depression and anxiety symptoms. Magnesium also helps with keeping a healthy heartbeat and having the muscles in the body function properly.

Magnesium is found in so many different foods that it is pretty easy for people to make the changes necessary to get what they need. Even somewhat indulgent foods like dark chocolate, almonds, and cashews all have solid amounts of magnesium for people to consume.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are very effective for a variety of reasons. They help fight off any infection in the body and keep it running as efficiently as possible. People get their antioxidants from natural fruits and vegetables, but there is also the opportunity to get it from salmon and some seeds.

Curing Poor Eating Habits Connected to Mental Health

For many teenagers dealing with mental health issues connected to food, it comes down to making bad decisions that work as coping mechanisms. In particular, people use food as a way to comfort themselves when times are tough, or they are stressed. Some teenagers handle mental issues by not eating at all.

Creating healthier habits takes time, but a lot depends on listening to and reacting to the way the body feels. The process takes a little time for some but sticking with it using gradual changes helps.

Developing healthier eating habits as a teenager

A person’s eating habits are firmly established by the time they reach adulthood. In fact, many believe that diet choices and mental disorders start to show up for the majority of people by the time they are teenagers. That makes teenagers perfect candidates to create healthier eating habits now instead of waiting any longer.

If a student at Elevations RTC feels like they are suffering mentally or physically, there are opportunities to put together more specific diet plans that make the most sense. It all comes down to finding something that works for each individual and allowing them to get what they need when they need it.

Why Nutrition Matters At Elevations RTC

Students spend all their time on campus, so nutrition must be right from all angles. That’s why we have our own dietician here at the Syracuse Campus, who teaches our new students about good nutrition and is available weekly to meet with our students that are in need of increased nutritional support.  With options to choose from to make smart decisions overall, a teenager can see positive physical and mental changes to their body.