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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cassandra Paiano, ND

Finding Balance: Naturopathic Approaches to Mental Wellbeing

Feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or simply not yourself? You’re not alone.  Mental health is a crucial part of overall well-being, and with today’s fast paced world, many people are seeking alternative and complementary ways to help  manage stress and improve mood.

In light of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s explore how naturopathic medicine can support mental health.

Nutrition for a Healthy Mind

The food we eat has a profound impact on our mood and mental health.  Did you know, 95% of the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut?  Here are my top three nutrition recommendations:

-  Eat diet focused on whole, unprocessed foods.  A whole foods diet includes foods that are packed with essential micronutrients that support neurotransmitter production. Focus on lean proteins (ie. chicken and fish), richly coloured veggies (ie. spinach, sweet potato, broccoli), and healthy fats (olive oil, almonds, avocado).

-  Omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts play a vital role in supplying energy to the brain, and reduces inflammation in the central nervous system.

-  Blood sugar regulation. Limiting processed foods, added sugar, and ensuring fat + fibre + protein with every meal and snack helps to prevent mood swings, cravings, and low energy levels.

Exercise to Boost Mood

Physical activity is a powerful tool for managing stress and improving mood.  The current literature suggests regular movement can:

-  Increase endorphin production, which act as natural mood elevators.

-  Promote better sleep, because optimal sleep is essential for mental well-being.

-  Reduce stress hormones (e.g. cortisol) for a calmer state of mind.

Uncovering Underlying Imbalances

Lab testing can help to uncover underlying imbalances that can result in various mood imbalances. These are the top three areas that I address to support mental wellbeing with my patients

-  Nutrient deficiencies.  A lack of essential vitamins and minerals can contribute to mood issues.  For example, deficiencies in vitamin D and B vitamins have been linked depression.  These vitamins play a crucial role in neurotransmitter production. 

-  Hormone imbalances.  Hormonal fluctuations in both men and women can affect mood and energy levels. 

-  Food sensitivities.  Because of the connection between the gut and the brain (known as the gut-brain axis), hidden sensitivities to certain foods can trigger inflammation in the central nervous system and impact mood.

I'm here to help you to create a foundation for a happy, healthier and more balanced you. Book your appointment here!

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