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Nutrition and Mental Well-being

by June Kaminski, MSN

Mental health and well-being is affected by a multitude of factors. Interpersonal dynamics, financial situation, place of residence, community happenings, religious conflict, racial tension - any number of factors can wear at our nerves.

Your level of fitness, how much sleep you get, how you cope with stress are also crucial factors in your mental well-being. Another extremely important factor is your level of nutritional balance.

Nutrition not only keeps the body maintained and healthy, but also the mind. Whether we are talking about mood, affect, personality, learning ability, creativity, imagination, intuition, or good old body-mind maintenance, - our ability to cope and thrive in the world does demand proper nutrition.

B Vitamins Are Mind Food

Nutrition and medical research has recently been focused on certain B vitamins linked with depression, stress response, learning, digestion, and nerves. There are 11 recommended B vitamins, making up what is called the B Vitamin Complex.

Although research has usually been focused on one single B vitamin, such as folic acid, or inositol, it is important that all eleven are present in our systems for optimal impact. B vitamins are vital to your family's mental and neural health, as well as your enzyme production for effective digestion.

The 11 Required B Vitamins

  • Thiamine or Vitamin B1
  • Riboflavin or Vitamin B2
  • Niacinamide or Vitamin B3
  • Pyridoxine or Vitamin B6
  • Cyanocobalamin or Vitamin B12
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Folic Acid
  • Biotin
  • Cholin
  • Inositol
  • Para Amino Benzoic Acid or PABA

Sources of B Vitamins

B vitamins are found in foods such as whole grains, legumes and other beans, lean meats and fish, cereals, and fortified dairy and bakery products. Each of the B vitamins has a slightly different yet synergistic function in the body and mind. It is vital that you receive all eleven of these vitamins each day.

If you do decide to supplement your Vitamin B supply, make sure you buy a quality product that contains all eleven of the B vitamins, not just 5 or so. An excess in a few of the B vitamins can potentiate a deficiency or interfere with the function of less abundant ones.

Minerals for Your Nerves

Additional research studies have looked at the link between minerals and mental well-being and nerve function. Certain minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Potassium are crucial for effective nerve transmission, anxiety level, and mental well-being.

Recommended Daily Intake

It is recommended that you and your family ingest the following amounts of these four important minerals.

Mineral Amount Sources
Calcium 1,000 mg milk, dairy, sardines, sesame seeds
Magnesium 400 mg. green vegs, soybeans, milk, corn, apples
Phosphorus 1,000 mg meat, fish, eggs, poultry,seeds, nuts
Potassium 300 mg vegs, oranges, whole grains, sunflower seeds, bananas, mint

More Sites To Visit To Find Out More

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, This website devoted to A.D.H.D. and A.D.D. presents an interesting view on ADHD and the food a child eats, plus other resources.

Arbor Nutrition Guide offers an exhaustive list of nutrition site links - food tables, government sites, journals, resources, and more!

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June Kaminski, MSN - 2001 - 2005 -Healing Intent.com - All rights reserved.
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