Can teaching your kids how to eat healthy or offering healthy foods prevent mental health problems? Yes!
You can even aid in a child or teen's recovery from eating disorders by helping your child get proper nutrition!
Thomas Edison (1847-1931) said, “the doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” As we know better than any other time in our history, there is a very succinct, direct connection between the physical body, the mind, the feelings, and one’s spirit or soul. In 2014, a large meta-analysis (a study of all studies done on a particular subject) was conducted by multiple researchers and results were reported in the American Journal of Public Health. These authors found “a significant, cross-sectional relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents.” There was also a positive relationship “between good-quality diet and better mental health.” So, one’s diet can literally make or break your child’s mental health.
It stands to reason then that eating healthy foods consistently would help create good mental health. That has been proven to be true. Last year NPR wrote about a study which demonstrated how changes in diet – eating lots of vegetables and fruits and limiting processed foods – can reduce depressive symptoms. Diets high in refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugary foods and drinks seems to cause inflammation and is a definite risk factor for depression. So, we know that changing a kid’s or teen’s diet can be very challenging, but well worth the effort.
Take a look at our Parents Resource page to learn more about eating disorders and how you can help your child overcome them.
Or view our courses to learn strategies to help your child have healthy nutrition and a healthy mind.
Dr. Donna Poppendieck (Dr. P) has over 30 years of experience in the mental health care field. She is a seasoned college professor and instructor for providers. She uses credible, proven holistic health strategies in instruction for parents of children with mental health challenges looking for another approach as well as healthcare providers seeking to implement or understand holistic strategies.