Most people will be surprised to learn that the two most effective ways to improve or protect your mental health are through your diet and lifestyle — primarily the removal of sugar and the avoidance of environmental toxins.
Sugar is the most detrimental substance one can ingest and has a profound impact on mental health. It is a leading cause and perpetuator of depression, anxiety, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, mood swings, rage, violence, hyperactivity, attention deficit, addiction, anger management issues, irritability, OCD, alcoholism and binging to name a few.
By simply removing sugar from your diet you can make significant improvements in your mental health quite rapidly. In my own life, I found the consumption of sugar to be the primary cause of anxiety attacks that I suffered with for over a decade. They simply disappeared when I stopped eating sugar. Additionally, my son who suffered with hyperactivity attention deficit disorder, became a new child literally overnight with the removal of sugar from our diet.
Sugar alters, disrupts and depletes crucial neurotransmitters in the brain that control our mood, thoughts, perceptions, appetite, energy and behavior. It is not a food; it is a destructive and mind-altering addictive substance.
Addiction to sugar is the most common addiction in our society today, with each American consuming more than 150 pounds of sugar each year. It impacts the brain in a similar manner as heroine and cocaine, and is just as addictive and destructive, but fortunately recovery can be achieved with simple changes in diet and lifestyle and nutritional support.
Environmental toxins that are found in the products that most people use every day like perfume, cologne, air fresheners, hair spray, cosmetics, nail polish, disinfectants, household cleansers, laundry soap, body soap, shampoo, dish soap, mousse, weed and pest control, new carpet and new construction contain chemicals that also disrupt neurotransmitters in the brain, the nervous system, endocrine system and immune system. This too results in numerous psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, mood swings, violence, irritability, hyperactivity, attention deficit, cravings for sweets, addiction and more.
Again, immediate improvement in mental health can be achieved by adopting a more green and environmentally friendly lifestyle, and removing these items from the household and switching over to natural, less toxic products.
Your mental health is completely dependent on how your neurotransmitters are functioning, and your diet and environment are the components that have the most impact on your neurotransmitter production and function, but there are a variety of others. You can find a comprehensive discussion of all the factors that impact mental health in What Your Psychologist Hasn’t Told You About Anxiety and Depression.
Although the mind certainly has an effect on the body, of more importance is the fundamental influence that the body has on the mind. The mind simply cannot function adequately when it is overloaded with toxins and lacking in proper nutrients.
By making these two simple changes in diet and lifestyle, you can instantly alleviate existing mental health conditions and/or protect yourself from developing them in the future.