You have likely heard this saying: food is fuel. Commonplace, but true! Food is—literally—fuel. Our bodies function on the nutrients we consume. Diets composed of nutrient-dense whole foods provide our body with the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to functions properly. From adolescence to adulthood, we learn that food fuels our bodies and supports our physical function. However, food fuels our bodies beyond physical endurance. It fuels our broad health—mental and physical. But how does food fuel our mental health?
Well…by providing essential vitamins and minerals!
Just as they do our physical health, vitamins and minerals support our mental health. As we nourish our digestive and central nervous systems with essential nutrients, we nourish our minds. Today we will discuss five essential vitamins and minerals that support mental health and wellness:
These vitamins and minerals exist in various whole foods. However, if you struggle to consume adequate amounts of these essential nutrients you may consider supplementation. Supplementation exists to close nutrient gaps. If you have questions or concerns about what vitamins and minerals may support your individual mental health and wellness, please reach out to your healthcare provider!
Both folate and cobalamin—vitamins B9 and B12—support the production of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These neurotransmitters play essential roles in sustaining mental health and wellness. Natural sources include the following: beans, chickpeas, dark leafy greens, and legumes.
Sufficiency supports sustained mental focus and even temperaments. Consequently, Vitamin D deficiency may promote mental fog and negative moods. Our primary natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight. However, other natural sources include the following: fortified milks and fatty fish.
This mineral fosters healthy sleep cycles by supporting the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system to relax the body—proper sleep broadly supports improved mental health and wellness. Magnesium also supports consistent temperament and optimal stress levels. Natural sources of magnesium include the following: black beans, legumes, salmon, and seeds.
Though still undergoing research, we know that selenium supports sustained mental cognition in aging bodies. Selenium also supports positive moods and even temperaments in women. Natural sources of selenium include the following: animal products, Brazil nuts, brown rice, and seeds.
This mineral supports the production of the calming neurotransmitter: GABA. This neurotransmitter reduces fear and stress. Therefore, sufficient zinc levels—and subsequent sufficient GABA levels—support healthy levels of stress in the mind and body. Natural sources of zinc include the following: avocados, pomegranate seeds, and whole grains.
Just as they do our physical health, vitamins and minerals support our mental health. Today we discussed five essential vitamins and minerals that support mental health and wellness:
- Vitamin B: supports dopamine and norepinephrine production
- Vitamin D: supports mental focus and even temperaments
- Magnesium: support parasympathetic nervous system activation
- Selenium: supports sustained mental cognition in aging bodies
- Zinc: supports the production of GABA
If you have questions or concerns about what vitamins and minerals may support your individual mental health and wellness, please reach out to your healthcare provider!