Free Essay Example: Nutrition and Mental Health

Published: 2022-12-21
Free Essay Example: Nutrition and Mental Health
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Mental health Nutrition Depression Mental disorder
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1001 words
9 min read

What humans consume and how they eat it, are closely related to their emotions and mental health especially depressive disorders. Depression is a low mood status with an aversion to activities which are highly likely to affect the physical and behavior wellbeing, as well as an individual's feelings. Depressed individuals might have symptoms of irritability, sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. Depression is linked to changes in the brain neurotransmitters that are used by the cells for communication; they include serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine (Rao et al., 2008). The levels of these neurotransmitters are influenced by brain injury, physical illnesses, hormonal changes, and diet among other things. The brain requires vital nutrients that help it to function effectively. Deficiency of essential nutrients might manifest into severe mental issues like impulsiveness, anxiety, suicide, and depression. A study was carried out to find out the relationship between nutrition and depression in a teenager, and it was found that nutrition deficits in an individual could cause depression: this essay thus discusses how dietary intake affects the rates of depression among teenagers between age thirteen to nineteen in Canada.

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Research is progressively authenticating the remarkable effect of food on people's mental state: individuals with poor eating habits are suffering from depression (O'Neil et al., 2014). A study on twenty-one teenagers showed that 81% of the respondents were most likely to consume processed foods and high-fat products compared to 19% who ate grains or meat, while the likelihood of the participants to eat vegetables and fruits was zero. When the participants were asked if they had symptoms of being sad and moody, 81% said they did while 19% claimed they had no such signs. Similar responses were presented for individuals who felt depressed and anxious.

Sadness, anxiety, and fear might cause an individual not to enjoy their meals in the company of others. Most teenagers abuse their bodies through alcohol and drug use or neglect the general health secondary to anxiety and depression. In the primary research, sixteen of the respondents (76.2%) claimed to have ever consumed alcohol, coffee, or used drugs, and could at times feel less energized, while only five (23.8) out of the twenty, said they have never used such things and did they rarely feel fatigued. Depression influences appetite in two varying ways. Some depressed individuals, approximately 85.7%, suffer an increase in loss of appetite. They skip meals or consume minimal amounts of food. Ultimately there is a significant loss of weight in these group compared to 14.3% who have a good appetite and have no signs of depression.

On the other hand, depression could manifest itself in an increased appetite. An individual might crave and consume lots of food especially junks and calories without caring about their weight. Such individuals eventually become obese (Hidaka, 2012). The primary study found that diet, and weight status was associated with mental issues in adolescents. When asked about their calorie intake and if they watched their weight, 76.2% of teenagers never seemed to care about their weight gain and calorie intake while only 23.8% seem to care. A western dietary pattern (processed foods and animal products) was also found to increase the risk of depression in teens while high intake of whole grains, vegetables, fish, and fruits, protected against depression in the group.

Compared to normal weight teenagers, overweight ones have a high risk of having health complications. Research by Hidaka (2012) found a reciprocal correlation between depression and overweight - there is a 55% chance for obese individuals to develop depression compared to peers who watch their weight. General feelings of less body energy could also be as a result of appetite loss. In most occasions, individuals with chronic disorders such as depression are known to skip meals with the intent of committing suicide. These findings show that there is a correlation between national needs and nutrient intake with the development of depression among teenagers (Davison et al., 2012).

Additionally, vitamin D levels affect serotonin levels, that in turn affect one's mood. Thus, increasing the intake of vitamin D is shown to ease depression. Studies of the twenty-one teenagers showed that 52.4% of the participants were vitamin D deficient while 47.6% claimed to be getting the vitamin either from sunlight, dairy products, or tuna. The relation between individuals with depression and vitamin D deficiency is quite common in the US as shown by research by Ganji et al. (2010). The study focused on the influence of vitamin D deficiency on individuals and how it contributes to depression, and it found out that the chances of depression were high in people who lacked vitamin D (Ganji et al., 2010).

In conclusion, it is evident that nutrition thus plays a vital role in the cause and treatment of depression among teenagers. Individuals with poor nutritional habit are suffering from depression and other mental issues like anxiety. Eating certain processed foods and high-fat products are known to increase the chances of depression. Deficiency of vitamin D also contributes to the high possibilities of teenagers falling into depression. Hence, there is an essential connection between depression and nutrition. An excellent nutritional status could be inversely linked to the onset of depression. It is thus necessary for teenagers in Canada to include specific dietary plans to improve their moods and feelings and reduces chances of depression.


Davison, K. M., Ng, E., Chandrasekera, U., Seely, C., Cairns, J., Mailhot-Hall, L., & Grant-Moore, J. (2012). Promoting Mental Health Through Healthy Eating and Nutritional Care: The Role of Nutrition in Mental Health Promotion and Prevention (1). Toronto, ON Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved from

Hidaka, B. H. (2012). Depression as A Disease of Modernity: Explanations for Increasing Prevalence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 140(3), 205-214. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2011.12.036

O'Neil, A., Quirk, S. E., Housden, S., Brennan, S. L., Williams, L. J., Pasco, J. A., ... & Jacka, F. N. (2014). The Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), e31-e42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302110

Rao, T. S., Asha, M. R., Ramesh, B. N., & Rao, K. J. (2008). Understanding Nutrition, Depression, and Mental Illnesses. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(2), 77. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.42391

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