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Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service



Nutrition and healthy eating

Just like the heart, stomach and liver, the brain is an organ which is very sensitive to what we eat and drink.  To remain healthy, it needs different amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, amnio acids, vitamins and minerals and water.

We know that there is a clear link between what we eat and our physical health.  For example, people who eat lots of saturated fats, salt and sugar and don’t eat enough fibre, fresh fruit and vegetables are more likely to have problems with heart disease, obesity and certain types of diabetes.

Studies have now shown that there is also a direct link between the food we eat (or don’t eat) and mental health.  For example, in coutries where people don’t eat a lot of fish, they have higher levels of depression than countires where people to eat lots of fish.

Have you noticed that if you drink tea or coffee or eat chocolate, this can change your mood - even if only for a little while?  Scientists now believe that some foods can actually change the structure of your brain and affect the way it works.

Therefore, if you eat healthily (i.e. a good balance of fat, protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals) you will feel good.  If your body feels good, you feel good - and when you feel good about yourself, you are more likely to have good mental health.

If you want to know more about what the scientists think about this, click on the following links:

Feeding Minds: The impact of food on mental health

Changing Diets, Changing Minds: How food affects mental wellbeing and behaviour