Food’s impact on one’s physique is clear to most.
People watch what they eat to look good, to improve physical strength, to have better skin and hair, but the fact that eating well is essential to support mental health stands quite under-recognized.


According to “The Center Of Nutritional Psychology” (n.d.), “Research demonstrates that many common mental health disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, autism, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are associated with nutrient deficiencies.”


The reality is that nutrition has a great impact on mental health and that there is an entire field in psychology that focuses on the relationship between food, mood and behavior. Studies suggest that nutritional deficiencies are directly linked to symptoms of mental health disorders and can be reduced with supplements and special diets.


Nutritional deficiencies are part of the environmental threats to mental health (“U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine “, 2007).


This means you are able to influence your blood sugar and hormone system as well as the regulation of neurotransmitters in the brain for example, by eating certain foods and avoiding others!


What to do?

  • Grocery shopping!

    Do your research before you go, find recipes and make a list. If you don’t, you know what will happen.  Never shop hungry!
  • Taking your time and enjoying the act of preparing food!

    Cooking itself can be very relaxing, so put on some music and invite other family members to the “cooking party”.
  • Indulging!

    Enjoy, relax and appreciate the moment and dish you’ve prepared so thoughtfully.  Mindful eating helps your brain realize when you are full and helps you enjoy your meal more thoroughly.


According to “Ohio Medical Group” (2016), “20% of all American meals are eaten in the car.”



Former Army combat medic Mike, the “Master Chef” in his household, shares how cooking has become an

important part of his daily routine. 

The actual act of preparing meals allows him to relax his mind.


How did you get into cooking?


I am originally from Louisiana, so cooking is part of my culture, though it was never big in my household, because my mom couldn’t cook.
Cooking has been a way to help blend the various cultures in my household, with my wife being born in Russia, I have attempted to make a few Russian dishes such as Vareniki and Pirozhki to occasionally give my wife (who cannot cook) a taste of home.


How does the act of cooking affect your mood?


I think cooking helps me, because there is a structured plan in place to accomplish a goal. I find a recipe that I want to cook, then just follow the directions. As long as you follow directions, you should not go wrong. Cooking helps me clearing my mind of all that I have going on up there, and allows me to just focus on completing the task at hand. When I prepare something that everyone else enjoys, it definitely helps me to feel better about myself, and occasionally helps me to clear my head from some of my past experiences that I cannot seem to ever escape. Cooking can definitely support lifting you up when you are feeling down. Besides, who doesn’t like to eat good food?



Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. ~Hippocrates


Read more about nutrition and depression:



If you need help:
The Veterans Crisis Line is 800-273-8255, then press 1.


Help via text is available at 838-255 and veterans can chat at





Ohio Medical Group. (2016). Retrieved from


The Center of Nutritional Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from


U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine . (2007). Retrieved from