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Mental Well-being and Roles of Vitamins

  • May 12, 2022
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A, B, C, D, E, K… No! We haven't forgotten the correct structure of alphabets, we are talking about the vitamins -  chemical compounds that are needed in small amounts for the human body to function properly. As humans, we all have to 'consume' vitamins as they do not get created naturally in our body like other creatures such as - plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi. Vitamins act like our body's protectors and builders. Even though we need them in a small amount daily, they are vital for us to function throughout the day.

For humans, vitamins are provided by the food we consume – hence they are classified as 'essential' for our health. Working in harmony, vitamins come in two types – Water soluble and lipid-soluble.  Vitamins work in harmony – they help other nutrients do their job better; e.g., vitamin D boosts the absorption of calcium, vitamin C is necessary to absorb iron, and B vitamins work together in cells.

While being physically fit is important to lead a healthy life, mental well-being is equally important for humans to function in day-to-day life. Most of us think vitamins (nutrients) are only essential for the body to stay in the good form but many miss out on the fact that vitamins play a huge role in our mental health. When it comes to maintaining our overall health, it is impossible to separate our minds from our bodies. Hence, intaking vitamins that support a healthy body has a direct connection with supporting the good functioning of our brain.

  1. Let us throw a quick spotlight on how different vitamins are necessary to manage mental health in all stages of life.
  • Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Anxiety tends to bring discomfort hence making it tough for anyone to have peace of mind. Containing fatty acids, vitamin A helps to nourish the nervous system - which is the most critical system in our body; as a result, muscles get relaxed. A proper functioning nervous system helps in minimizing stress mentally. When you are relaxed, anxiety cannot occur.

Foods rich in Vitamin A include:

Dairy products (milk, yogurt)

Eggs

Oily fish

Fortified low-fat spreads

  • Vitamin B

When your body has a deficiency of Vitamin B, it leads to anxiety, fearfulness, depression, and irritability. As the vitamin B complex plays a vital role in the synthesis of red blood cells; it helps our brain fight fatigue, improves memory, and enables us to function precisely on daily basis.

Foods rich in Vitamin B include:

Nuts and peanuts

Seafood

Whole grains

Milk

Oats

Bananas

Soybeans

Leafy greens (Green vegetables)

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C deficient people suffer anxiety and chronic fatigue. Other than intaking Vitamin C through food products, many medical professionals/therapists prescribe Vitamin-C supplements to patients because they play a significant part in boosting mood as well as cognitive function.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include:

Citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice

Strawberries, guava, papaya, and blackcurrants

Potatoes

Brussels sprouts

Broccoli and bell peppers

Taking vitamin C supplements as per the suggested dosage and eating plenty of fruits & vegetables high in Vitamin C can significantly reduce anxiety levels.

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a necessary nutrient required by the body to absorb calcium, maintain immune functioning, and bone development, and alleviate inflammation. Other than this, it aids in healthy brain functioning. People with low vitamin D levels are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions – making it difficult to stay balanced during daily chores.

Foods rich in Vitamin D include:

Egg yolk

Seafood

Soy milk

Orange juice

Tofu

Mushroom

Cod liver oil

Cheese

For a high and natural intake of Vitamin D, aim to get 10–30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week.

  • Vitamin E

As per the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily consumption of vitamin E for adults is 15 mg.  Anxiety is one of the symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency. Moreover, Vitamin E alleviates and averts memory loss and learning impairments.

 

Foods rich in Vitamin E include:

Sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil

Almonds, peanuts, and peanut butter

Spinach, Pumpkin, and Avocadoes

Red bell pepper

  • Vitamin K

High levels of vitamin K have been linked with improved episodic memory in older adults. vitamin K has important actions in the nervous system.  Persons with a higher intake of vitamin K would be at a lower risk of presenting depressive symptoms.

Foods rich in Vitamin E include:

kale (green leafy vegetable)

Brussels sprouts

Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, and lettuce

Pumpkin, blueberries

Asparagus

Why? Our physical and mental health is interconnected. If we do not have a healthy mind, we certainly will fail to have a healthy body – to live a happy life. If you are suffering any symptoms related to mental health such as depression, anxiety, or panic attacks – then talk to your loved one or seek the help of a psychiatrist.