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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 72-79

Functional foods for mental health promotion

1 Department of Home Science (Food and Nutrition Division), University of Calcutta, Calcutta, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Food and Nutrition, Women's College, Calcutta, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Soumam Dutta
Department of Home Science (Food and Nutrition Division), University of Calcutta, 20E, Judges Court Road, Kolkata - 700 027, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmgims.jmgims_15_20

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Mental health problems and morbidities are increasing day by day. The etiology of mental health disorders is extremely complex and encompasses a range of genetic, dietary, emotional, and social as well as lifestyle factors. Finding adequate therapeutic and preventive strategies for mental health promotion is a great challenge. India is a country which is famous for its flora and fauna, many of which possess functional and medicinal properties. This article summarizes the mental health role of some selected functional foods of Indian origin, namely, brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), turmeric (Curcuma longa), garlic (Allium sativum), and pumpkin seeds (Cucurbita maxima). Relevant article searches were conducted in PubMed, Google Scholar, and Google to identify the scientific articles highlighting the role of the functional foods on various mental health problems such as neurodegeneration, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, depression, epilepsy, stress, and anxiety. The eligible articles were reviewed to gather information. These functional foods were found to be highly beneficial in treating and preventing mental health disorders mainly due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as their ability to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction and degrade abnormal protein aggregates. These functional foods were also found to be effective in the improvement of the activities of various neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and monoamines. These foods can be incorporated into the diet as well as can be used to develop drugs and nutraceuticals for treating various psychiatric problems.

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