On a waitlist to see your therapist? Have you noticed “mental health” is driving conversations across all wellness fields? Not surprisingly, the annual functional nutrition conference I attended two weeks ago focused on nutrition and mental health. Although Americans’ interest in personalized nutrition increased 27% after the peak of the pandemic, there was only a 1% increase in people seeking personal guidance from a nutritionist, a presenter found.

Food is a leading cause of disease, yet it also heals. What we eat is mostly overlooked as a mode of prevention in Western medicine and the fields of mental health and psychotherapy. Eating disorders are complex mental health concerns with a huge impact on gut function and, therefore, the gut-brain interaction. Chronic pain and chronic conditions affecting the physical and emotional body inevitably affect mental wellbeing. Dementia and Alzheimer’s often develop over many years of losing nerve cell function in the brain.

Depression—a leading cause of disability in the U.S. and in the world—is directly related to gut health, environmental toxins, dysregulated hormones, diet, trauma, stress, and nutrition. Obesity—a condition directly related to brain disease—has tripled worldwide.

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