National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Mental Illness and Nutrition
When we refer to our diet, we are referring to what we eat. We all need nutrition to support our bodies. A poor diet equals poor health, contributing to obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes-conditions that many people living with mental illness are at high risk of developing.
Food doesn't just feed our bodies, it also nourishes our minds. Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals in food are essential parts of any diet that provide specific benefits for the body. A lack of any of these nutritional components can lead to physical difficulties, increased mental-health problems and even changes in brain functioning. Nutrition is important for everyone. If you are living with mental illness, eating well is especially important for you, because what you eat can affect your daily life, mood and energy level.
Healthy eating involves making informed choices for the rest of your life. If you match that with adding more physical activity to your life and, if you are a smoker, engaging in smoking cessation activities, then you are on your way to a longer, healthier lifestyle that will serve to support a lifetime of recovery.
Healthy eating is not about being thin or depravation. Healthy eating is about feeling good, having more energy, participating in your recovery and mapping out your future.
Simply put, healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to improve wellness.
Learn more about healthy eating and how you can choose foods that are right for you. Use the information and resources in NAMI Hearts & Minds to create and maintain a satisfying, healthy diet.
What Is a Healthy Diet?
A healthy diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products and should include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
Food Journals and Other Tools
A brief guide on how to keep track of what you eat and how many calories you consume.