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Man eating sallad.

Diet can support the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders

Psychobiotics may have the potential to affect mood, and the ketogenic diet is being tested as part of the treatment of severe mental health disorders. New evidence on how nutrition impacts the mind keeps on mounting.

  • Text Ulla Kaltiala | Photos and graphics Mostphotos and Raija Törrönen

“We already have significant evidence on the associations between nutrition and mental well-being, and there is also preliminary evidence showing that some people with depression will have fewer symptoms when they improve the quality of their diet. The importance of nutrition is also gaining footing in psychiatric care,” a postdoctoral researcher and clinical dietitian Anu Ruusunen says.

Ruusunen is an adjunct professor in nutrition, specialising in psychiatric disorders in particular, and her research has a specific focus on the associations of nutrition with mental health. She works as a university lecturer at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition in the University of Eastern Finland, and as a nutritionist at the Department of Psychiatry in Kuopio University Hospital. She has also been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University in Australia – a pioneer in nutritional psychiatry –, and she is still involved in some of the centre’s research projects developing nutritional therapy for mental health disorders.

There is also preliminary evidence on the effects of the diet on neuroplasticity.

Anu Ruusunen

Adjunct professor, clinical dietitian

Anu Ruusunen.
Group of people eating.
Meal with sallad, pasta, meat, bread and milk.
Blueberries and lingonberries.
Table displaying healthy and unhealthy nutrients.