Our mission is to define, promote, and develop the field of nutritional psychology.
The Center for Nutritional Psychology is dedicated towards defining, promoting, and developing the field of Nutritional Psychology. It serves as an online resource for psychologists and mental healthcare professionals for gaining access to information on how nutrition relates to mental health. Nutritional Psychology is the science of how nutrients affect mood and behavior. This includes a scientifically-based understanding of how nutrient intake impacts mood, stress tolerance, inflammation, energy, sleep, cognition, medication needs, and behavioral dysfunction. Diet is playing an increasingly important role in the mental health and well-being of individuals in westernized societies. People often eat to relieve feelings of anxiety or stress, without realizing that their dietary choices actually result in greater fatigue, stress, and mood imbalance over the long-term. These dietary influences on mood and behavior have an important impact on the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, including possible misdiagnosis of non-psychiatric conditions created by today's modern dietary lifestyle.
Food and nutrition are integrally related to our internal experience. Nutritional Psychology examines this relationship, illuminating the biophysiological mechanisms, influenced by our nutrient intake, that underlie mood and behavior. Thus, nutritional psychology provides mental health professionals another important layer for understanding a patient as a whole, interconnected person. Those in the field of psychology already assess all the psychosocial, medical, and developmental factors that may be contributing to mood and/or behavior dysfunction, but our current model is not considering nutrition as a piece of the puzzle.
Additionally, the field of nutritional psychology bridges the gap between the field of psychology and the recent movement in the field of medicine towards an integrative approach to healthcare. This movement, labeled integrative medicine, is a holistic approach to care with the primary objective of treating a patient as a whole person not just a constellation of symptoms. The principle philosophy of this movement is that each patient represents a unique, complex, and interwoven set of influences that affect the intrinsic functionality of that individual. Thus, each of these influences must be addressed to achieve wellness. The field of nutritional psychology examines mental health in the context of nutritional needs/deficiencies and is an important piece of the puzzle when assessing a person as an integrated whole. Hence, nutritional psychology is aligned with the principles of the integrative medicine movement and is an avenue for mental health providers to further participate in the movement as well as keep up with the state of the science.