Hitchin hypnotherapy expert Ian Murton on: Nutrition for Mental Health

By Layth Yousif

19th Feb 2023 | Local News

Nutrition for Mental Health by Ian Murton. CREDIT: Unsplash
Nutrition for Mental Health by Ian Murton. CREDIT: Unsplash

The latest in our Nub News series from Ian Murton, a highly-qualified Hitchin hypnotherapist who specialises in helping people to overcome anxiety and insomnia, so they can look forward to enjoying life with confidence.

This week, Ian focuses on the subject of Nutrition for Mental Health - read on for Ian's expert take.

Nutrition for Mental Health 

It's a common misconception that fat is bad for our health, writes Ian Murton.

When we talk about fat we tend to think about it as just one food group. In reality its split into many different groups with a majority of fats being either saturated or un-saturated. 

Unsaturated fats are very beneficial to our health and well-being, helping to protect and improve the function of our heart and brains. 

Did you know that 60% of your brain is made of fat? 80% of the fat that makes up your brain is a fatty acid called Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA for short. This particular fat has been considered to be the single most critical nutrient for brain health throughout life. It is one of the Omega 3 fatty acids alongside Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that are found in oily fish. Generally speaking, DHA is linked to good brain function whereas EPA is linked to protecting your heart.  

It is considered that the most beneficial way to acquire the right amount of DHA is through eating oily fish, such as salmon, tuna or sardines 2-3 times a week. If this is not possible then you should look to use supplements on a daily basis. It's important that you check the information on the label as many cheap omega 3 supplements don't contain anywhere near the minimum recommended level of 250mg of DHA per day.  

Why is DHA so important? 

DHA are the building blocks of brain cells membranes and nerve cells. It also helps the brain cells to communicate effectively with each other and allows your neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine to function more effectively. Optimal levels of serotonin are associated with good mental health which is why it's often called our 'happy hormone'.  

If DHA isn't available, the brain will use other suboptimal fats to build brain cells. You can think of it like owing a Ferrari and filling it up with Tesco's unleaded. You're not going to get the performance that you would if you filled it with high octane petrol. 

Evidence from looking at fossils shows that the main reasons why as humans that we were able to build our large brains was due to our DHA intake ability which increased as we learnt how to catch fish.  

In addition to being vital to brain function our brains tend to shrink with age but DHA helps to preserve brain volume. People low in DHA will have smaller brains that age faster. 

If you don't eat oily fish 2-3 times a week then it may be time to consider supplementation. Your brain will thank you for it. 

By Ian Murton HPD, DSFH, AfSFH Reg, NCH Reg, CNHC Reg

Hypnotherapy in Hitchin



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To find out more visit Ian's website here


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