Improve Your Outlook – With a Healthy Diet

Can your diet affect your mental health? Yes.

Depression, anxiety, attention deficient disorder, compulsive disorders, and other disorders of mood are affected by the health of your nervous system. Your nervous system is composed of cells no different than other cells in your body, and every cell in your body depends on food for providing it with essential nutrients. In this way, poor nutrition can cause poor mental health.

To recover from a mental health condition, it is important to supply your nervous system with nutritional building blocks to help your nerve cells and brain cells to detoxify and function optimally. With or without medication, a good, healthful diet can support the nervous system in functioning better and can lead to better health. If you have specific mental health questions or concerns, it is best to speak to your doctor.

Stronger mental health by nourishing your nervous system

Eat healthy whole foods full of vitamins and nutrients.  Beneficial nutrients include B vitamins (especially thiamin, pyridoxine and niacin), calcium, magnesium and trace minerals. These building blocks help build neurotransmitters and repair damaged nerve cells.

Include essential fatty acids in your diet everyday. Your brain is the richest source of fatty acids in your body. Essential fatty acids are incorporated into the membranes of its nerve cells. If your diet has an overabundance of trans-fatty acids or saturated fats, these elements are incorporated into your brain’s nerve cells’ membranes, which will make the membranes less fluid and affect their ability to function effectively.

Sources of essential fatty acids include cold water fish (such as salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna), flax seeds (either ground or as an oil) and nuts (especially walnuts). Grass fed beef and free-range organic chickens have more essential fatty acids then grain-fed animals.

To decrease trans-fatty acids, avoid processed foods containing partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, and shortening.

Ways to decrease the stress on the nervous system and improve your mental health

Decrease caffeine consumption. Caffeine is generally overused in our society and is a stress to the body to eliminate. Many studies have shown benefits from eliminating caffeine for people with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

Decrease refined sugar consumption. The effect of sugar is worse when eaten with caffeine. While sugar acts as a stimulant, the effects are short-lived and do more damage than good in the long run for people with depression, anxiety, seizures, ADD, and other mood disorders.

Decrease alcohol consumption. Alcohol actually interferes with many brain cell processes, disturbs sleep, changes the adrenal gland output, and can lead to low blood sugar and sugar cravings.

Avoid food allergens. Food allergies have been related to mental health disorders for decades. Food allergy symptoms include depression, fatigue, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and nervousness.



Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)

Recommended Dietary Intake refers to the amount of specific nutrients required in one day for good health.

This amount is set out in guides developed by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. RDI tables are available from government bookshops. The amount your body needs to maintain a healthy weight, varies according to our age, sex, body size, amount of physical activity and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The RDIs do not help you understand what foods to eat to obtain specific nutrients. SO to help Australians meet these RDIs, the Commonwealth of Australia published The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, which suggests how much food and what variety of foods to eat each day, according to your age and stage of life.
Formula For Life has merged this information with other leading health recommendations to create Recommended Intakes (RI) for foods and nutrients.

Recommended Intakes are important to ensure we eat enough of certain foods to keep us healthy. In some cases, too much of one type of food can cause an imbalance in our bodies which may lead to health problems. Recommended Intakes help you plan a measured and varied diet taking in the 5 food groups.

Use the link below for more information


Lack of Sleep Increases Overeating

Researchers from several separate studies have found a link between sleep and the hormones that influence our eating behavior.

Two specific hormones are involved
Ghrelin is responsible for feelings of hunger. 
Leptin tells the brain when it’s time to stop.

When you’re sleep deprived, your ghrelin levels increase at the same time that your leptin levels decrease.   The result is an increased craving for food and not feeling full.  Add the fact that sleep deprived people tend to chose different foods to snack on-mainly high calorie sweets and salty and starchy foods – and it’s easy to see how these small changes can lead to long-term weight gain.

Optimal sleep for weight loss
Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.  Some more, some less. V ery few of us actually get the minimum of seven.  How do you know how much sleep you really need?

Experts say to sleep as long as you want for several days (best done on vacation).  Then, your sleep should stabilise and you’ll find yourself waking up after the same number of hours daily, within 15 minutes or so. Once you know about how much sleep you need, start getting into a steady routine. Set a regular time for sleep.  Start getting ready ahead of time. And experts say, avoid using the bed for watching TV or doing work.

Sleep + exercise + a healthy diet = weight loss
Don’t think snoozing a few hours longer each night will solve a weight problem. It won’t. Exercising and eating healthfully is still the way to go.  But, lack of shut-eye may soon be considered another risk factor for obesity. 

One thing does seem to be clear. When your body is not hungry for sleep, it won’t be so hungry for food either




Recommended Dietary Intakes
30 mcg to 300 mcg.

This Vitamin Is Essential For.

  • helps convert food to energy

  • required for the synthesis of carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acids.

  • healthy hair, skin, and nails.

  • cell growth.

  • nerve tissue and sweat glands.


Cheese, kidneys, brewers yeast, cooked egg yolk, salmon, soybeans, sunflower seeds, nuts, salt water fish, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.


Please note, the B vitamins should be taken as a complex and not individually unless specially recommended.
A healthy diet should provide enough folic acid, but you may find you need more if you are pregnant, just had an injury, or if you have been taking drugs or the oral contraceptive long term. Caution should be taken as large doses of Folic acid can mask a B12 deficiency which can lead to nerve problems.

Eating raw egg whites can inhibit the absorption of biotin. As can antibiotics and saccharin.

Deficiencies Can Cause…

  • scaly, oily skin rash.

  • hair loss.

  • nausea.

  • vomiting.

  • muscle pain.

  • loss of appetite.

  • a red, inflamed tongue.

  • fatigue.



Recommended Dietary Intakes 
Men – 800 mg
Women up to 54 years of age – 800 mg
Women over 54 years of age – 1000 mg

This Mineral Is Essential For.


  • strong bones.

  • regulating blood pressure, and preventing heart spasms.

  • lowers cholesterol levels.

  • muscular growth.

  • blood clotting.

  • may help prevent some cancers.

  • helps the skin.


Milk, leafy green vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardine, seafood, nuts, brewers yeast, dried fruit and whole grains.


Athletes and menopausal women need more calcium, excessive exercise can halt the production of calcium. Do not take calcium with iron. Too much calcium can interfere with the absorption of zinc. Try to include more of the above mentioned foods into your diet. Stay away from highly refined foods and sugars.

Deficiencies Can Cause…


  • Gastrointestinal upset (nausea, diarrhoea, constipation).

  • weight gain.

  • increased appetite

  • drowsiness, tiredness, lightheadedness.

  • headache.

  • flushing.

  • aching joints

  • brittle nails.

  • eczema.

  • high cholesterol.

  • heart palpitations.

  • high blood pressure.

  • insomnia



This Vitamin Is Essential For.

  • aids in the production of stomach acid – hydrochloric acid.

  • maintenance of all body fluids

  • nerve and muscle function.

  • waste elimination.


A diet of unprocessed natural foods provides more than enough chloride for human health. Just a pinch of table salt contains about 250 mg, one-third of the RDA.


Excess chloride is usually excreted in the urine and does not pose a threat. Sometimes however, increases in chloride coincide with a diet high in salt an potassium. This creates an increased susceptibility to high blood pressure.

Deficiency Can Cause…

Chloride deficiency is extremely rare and is usually due to illness such as excessive vomiting, sweating, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and muscle cramps. Symptoms include muscle weakness, loss of appetite, and lethargy.



Recommended Dietary Intakes 
Adults, 50 mcg to 200 mcg

This Vitamin Is Essential For.


  • sugar and fat metabolism.

  • regulates the body’s use of sugar.

  • can aid in weight loss programs.

  • energy.


Liver, poultry, wholegrains, beer, brewers yeast, brown rice, cheese, meat.


Diabetics should never take this element as a supplement. Other people may develop a rash or become lightheaded after taking Chronium – switch brands or stop taking the supplement. Also see your doctor.

Deficiencies Can Cause…


  • alcohol intolerance.

  • elevate blood sugar levels.

  • glucose intolerance.


This Mineral Is Essential For…

The mineral cobalt is part of vitamin B12.  Cobalt helps form red blood cells and maintain nerve tissue.

Consuming large amounts of inorganic cobalt stimulates growth of the thyroid gland and may lead to the overproduction of red blood cells.


Cobalt must be obtained from foods such as liver, kidneys, milk, oysters, clams, or sea vegetables, or from vitamin B12 supplements. Inorganic cobalt has no nutritional value but is sometimes added to beer as an anti-foaming agent.



Recommended Dietary Intakes 
Adults – 1.5 mg to 3 mg

This Vitamin Is Essential For.


  • formation of bone, haemoglobin and red blood cells.

  • helps in the absorption and use of iron.

  • assists in the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate.

  • strengthening blood vessels, bones, tendons, and nerves.

  • promoting fertility.

  • skin and hair pigmentation.

  • nervous system.

  • formation of collagen.

Some say that copper has an antioxidant affect on the system.


Seafood and organ meats are the richest sources, blackstrap molasses, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, black pepper, cocoa, and water passed through copper pipes also contain significant quantities. The levels of copper are directly related to the levels of vitamin C andzinc in the body.

Deficiencies Can Cause…

  • Brittle, discoloured hair;

  • skeletal defects;

  • anaemia;

  • high blood pressure;

  • heart arrhythmia’s; and

  • infertility.

A deficiency in this mineral is very rare.

Excess copper can cause vomiting, nausea, muscle pain, and stomach aches.



Recommended Dietary Intakes 
Adults, 1.5 mg to 4 mg

This Element Is Essential For.

  • healthy bones and teeth.


Tap water, tea, meat, fish, cereals and fruit.


The fluoride in water is controversial. It is not likely to cause deficiencies these days. Do not take any supplements without first seeing your doctor.

Deficiencies Can Cause…

  • Tooth decay.