Several harmful substances can get into the human body easily through different ways, including foods, drinking water, air, and so on. Moreover, there are a variety of food additives that are added to foods to extend their shelf-life, enhance flavor, or make them more attractive. However, it has also been reported that some contaminants and food additives could induce mental disorders. On the other hand, some dietary components show preventive and therapeutic effects on mental disorders caused by contaminants and food additives.
Scope and approach
This narrative review collects high-quality literature from the Web of Science Core Collection and PubMed databases that has been published in the past five years. In this paper, the effects of contaminants and food additives on mental health are summarized. Moreover, several dietary components are discussed about their preventive and therapeutic effects against these mental disorders.
Key findings and conclusions
Some contaminants, including heavy metals, organic pollutants, antibiotics, pesticides, etc., as well as food additives, were reported to cause the occurrence of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Several foods and dietary bioactive compounds, such as probiotics, fruits, vegetables, and spices, were found to exert protective effects against these mental disorders. This paper can be helpful to understand the safety of contaminants and food additives from another point of view by focusing on their influences on mental health. It can also shed light on the development of dietary natural products into functional foods to prevent and manage these mental disorders.