Nutritional Psychology

What if I told you that there was a simple lifestyle change we could support you to make which would have the potential to add quality and quantity to your and your family’s life? What if I told you this lifestyle change was natural, not ridiculously expensive nor required pharmaceutical medication?! The addition of healthy ‘Nutrition’ into your lives has been shown to  increase your life expectancy, improve self-perceived physical and mental quality of life, lower incidence of major chronic disease,  support you achieving a healthier weight, increase energy and improve physical and mental health status. Sounds too good to be true, let’s see what the research says.

Research is consistently finding that a nutritious diet isn't just necessary for a healthy functioning body; it's essential for our good mental health, too. This growing body of research has given rise to an important primary treatment field in preventing and combating mental health conditions called Nutritional (or food) Psychology. Changing our eating habits is potentially the most powerful intervention we have in preventing and reducing the negative symptoms to many psychological conditions. Put simply, by helping Veterans and their families shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders.

A very large body of evidence now exists suggesting that diet is ‘as important’ to mental health as it is to physical health. For example, studies have shown that the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare people with poor-quality diet (Western processed foods) to those who eat a higher-quality diet (whole foods). Dietary intake has been shown to directly impact the biological systems that underpin conditions such as depression including the very functioning our brain proteins, cellular inflammation and immune system dysfunction.

Therefore, it makes sense that studies have also demonstrated that the introduction of healthy eating has been shown to impact a number of mental health conditions positively. Evidence shows that eating a high quality diet (non-processed foods) helps reduce depression symptoms, reduce the chances of bipolar episodes, reduce anxiety, reduce the negative symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, keeps blood sugars level which can prevent dips in mood, boosts energy levels, improves concentration, maintains healthy brain activity and has protective effects against cognitive decline. If that wasn’t enough, research shows that opting for a nutritious diet induces healthy weight loss, a return of an invaluable sense of control in your life, improved appearance, and an overall improved positive self-esteem.

So if these are changes you are looking for in your life, please contact your local Mates4Mates Family Recovery Centre to make an appointment with:

  • Our onsite Exercise Physiologists to offer nutritional support and advice and design an exercise program that is tailored to meet the individual rehabilitation needs and goals of our Mates and their families.
  • Our onsite DVA Advocates to discuss your eligibility for, and how to access, programs such as ‘The Heart Health Programme’ which aims to help you increase your physical health and wellbeing through practical exercise, nutrition and lifestyle management support.
  • Our onsite Psychologists. So why come see a Psychologist about eating? Psychology is at is essence the science of behaviour. Therefore, for people contemplating making a positive changes in their eating habits, psychology addresses important positive change factors such as motivation, identifying, understanding and finding ways to change unhealthy eating behaviours whilst also focusing on identifying and shifting self-defeating thinking patterns that may contribute to our perceived inability to initiate or maintain positive change.