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Which Diet is Best for Mental Health?

Which Diet is Best for Mental Health?

There are many diets out there that provide you with a variety of benefits, depending on what benefits you are looking for. Some diets help you lose weight while other diets help you gain weight. Still, other eating plans focus on particular medical needs, such as diabetes and heart disease. But what diet is best for your mental health?

The best diet for mental health is the one that provides you with all the needed nutrients and minerals for a healthy mind. According to a research study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry, specific nutrients help prevent and reduce depressive symptoms. Some of these nutrients incuded certain B-vitamins, (B-12 and folate), magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Based on this information, it would be best to know which diet provides the most mind-boosting nutrients. Of course, talking with your doctor to find out which eating plan is right for you is always good to do before making any drastic dietary changes. Read on to find out which diet provides the best overall nutrients that boost your mental health.

The Ketogenic Diet Has Potential to Reduce Anxiety

According to this PubMed article, the Ketogenic diet was first introduced in the 1920's to treat children suffering from epilepsy. Since then the Ketogenic Diet has spawned into the huge Keto market we know today. As mentioned in this article, the principle tenets of the Ketogenic diet is high fats, moderate proteins, and low carbs.

One study has shown that a high fat, low carb diet has the potential benefit of reducing symptoms of anxiety but more research is still needed to make a conclusive claim on this.

The main concern you want to look for when following the Ketogenic diet is if it provides you with enough balance of nutrients for optimal health. Following a high fat, low carb diet is not for everyone and may make things worse for you, especially if you have prior heath conditions.

The Raw Food Diet Can Reduce Depression

The Raw Food diet started in the 1800's by a doctor who cured his jaundice by eating raw apples. It's gained some popularity in recent years with Raw Food experts touting that foods cooked above 118 degrees farenheit is not good for the body since this temperature kills beneficial nutrients and enzymes.

The main principes of the Raw Food diet includes eating raw fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. This study finds that participants who ate unprocessed, raw fruit and vegetables had reduced their depressive symptoms by the end of the study. Most other research on the Raw Food diet highights weight loss as the main benefit going Raw.

Certain individuals, like those pregnant, young children, and those with weakened immune systems should use caution when following a Raw Food meal plan since certain bacteria, that would normally be killed off during the cooking process, will still be present in the food and may cause illness.

Veganism and Vegetarianism May or May Not Be a Risk for Depression

Veganism is the eating plan you follow when you don't consume any products from any living creature, including honey and dairy products (ie eggs and milk). Vegetarainism is similar to Veganism but will allow some comsumption of honey, eggs, butter, and cheese. Both eating plans follow a large intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, and grains.

This meta-analysis review finds that Veganism and Vegetarianism has a high risk factor for depression but a low risk factor for anxiety. However, this study in Taiwan claims that Vegetarianism had a lower risk for depression compared to non-Vegetarians in Taiwan. This was just one study in one area and further research on this is needed to come to a definitifve answer. As this research explains, there's not enough studies on plant-based diets and mental health but scientists are beginning to look into these areas now.

The Paleo Diet Improves Mood for MS Sufferers

The Paleo Diet was started in the 1970s by Walter Voegtlin, an American gastroentrologist and author, who wrote, "The Stone Age Diet". In his book, Voegtlin advocated a diet that mimicked what our ancestors ate, which included meat, fish, seeds, nuts, fruit, and vegetables. The Paleo diet also avoids anything processed and dairy products.

This study discovers that a modified Paleo diet helps improve mood and cognitive functioning for indiiduals suffering from MS. More research is needed to determine Paleo diet's effect on mental health.

The Mediterranean Diet is Possibly Linked to Improved Cognition

The Mediterranean Diet was first introduced by Ancel Keys, a physiologist and his wife, Margaret Keys, a biochemist in their book, initially published as "How to Eat Well". The Mediterranean Diet was re-published in the Keys' second book, "How to Eat Well and Stay Well the Mediterranean Way".

Based on the information in this article, the core framework of the Mediterranean eating llifestyle centers around olive oil, fresh, local fruit and vegetables, wholes grains, nuts, seeds, and small portions of red wine. Meat is also consumed but only a few times a week, which includes mostly fish and poultry.

This systemic review finds that the Mediterranean Diet is associated with improved cognitive functioning and a decrease in dimentia symptoms. However, more evidence needs to be explored to determine a direct causal relationship between the Mediterranean Diet and cognitgive functioning. Additionally, this meta-analysis of observational studies finds that the Mediterranean Diet can help prevent depression. Yet again, this research was solely on observational studies and more direct research on the Mediterranean Diet and its direct effects needs to be done.

How to Know Which Diet is Best for You

This article discussed only five popular eating plans but there are many more diets out there that can possibly be the one that fits your nutritional needs best for total optimal mental and physical health. If you'd like a more in depth review of your nutritional needs and want to find out exactly what foods your body needs then check this article out here.


Whether you want to give Keto a kick, reach back to your ancestory roots with Paleo, or try the Vegan hat on you will find that the best foods will make you feel good all the time. You will know that you have found the right foods becuse you will be prepared to handle any mental and physical stress that comes your way. Exploring different food options that's right for you is totally worth a try when it comes to your health.