You may be, “What does nutrition have to do with depression and psychotherapy?”
Many of us bristle when we think of nutrition, because we think it means dieting or something equally unpleasant. In therapy, many emotional conditions – including depression – can be dramatically helped with some minor nutritional adjustments.
As a psychotherapist and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, I offer this service as an option to my clients. A large portion of my 630 page book, Healing & Wholeness: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Mental Health is devoted to discussing the use of nutritional support and mental health, with four entire chapters devoted to depression.
Nutrition and Depression Therapy
I’m by no means the first psychotherapist to use nutritional support as a natural depression remedy. Julia Ross, located in Mill Valley, California, is probably the most famous. Ross, a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, authored The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure, two landmark books on nutrition and mental health.
Nutrition is more than just eating right and taking supplements. Each of us has different needs that must be addressed on an individual basis. I teach my clients simple things they can do every day to take control of their health with diet, appropriate nutritional supplementation, and specific dietary techniques. My background and education helps me to recognize important trends in the latest research on nutrition and mental health. I read the medical journals everyday watching for new research.
How Nutrition Helps Us Feel Better
I’ve learned through my education and experience with clients what works – and what doesn’t. For example, you may be surprised to learn that:
- Eating soy products can be detrimental psychologically for children and some adults.a
- Restricting sugar and caffeine in people with depression has been reported to elevate mood.
- The most effective way to prevent postpartum depression is with prenatal nutrition.
- There are safe, natural supplements and diets that help with weight loss without going hungry and aggravating depression.
This is just a small sample of what I’ve learned about how nutrition and lifestyle can help us lead healthier emotional lives. Our emotional and physical health are closely linked to each another and to our diet.
The proper nutrition is one the most important things you can do for your mental health. For some people, it works better than medication and/or reduces medication side effects.
Nutrition and Optimum Health
Many of these health problems can be helped by adopting a new approach to nutrition. Optimum health starts with knowledge – the knowledge to make informed decisions that impact your health every day. I always recommend talking with your medical doctor and/or psychiatrist before taking any supplements or making any adjustments to your diet.
This is because even small changes can have adverse effects for some people. For example, research has found that calcium supplements can trigger mania in some bipolar patients. Even if you have never been diagnosed with a disease or a disorder, I recommend consulting with your doctor before making any changes in your health regimen.
My Nutrition Training
I was fortunate to receive my training and certification as a Clinical Nutritionist from Natural Healing Institute in San Diego, California. My training and educational experience taught me how critical sound nutrition is to good mental health. I often refer clients who are interested in nutritional therapy to nutritionists who specialize in specific areas of nutrition. By doing this, my clients always receive the best possible care.