However, such trials, of course, have many difficulties associated with them. Dietary adherence is just one issue — it is not always easy for people to change their diet and they may not always accurately report what they have eaten. This is just one example of the myriad challenges associated with such a trial.
If successful, dietary improvement may prove to be an effective and cost effective way to treat depression in some people. It is important to understand that researchers now believe that depression, in particular, is not just a brain disorder, but rather a whole-body disorder, with dysfunction of the immune system chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation as a very important risk factor.
Many of these factors influence gut microbiota, which in turn profoundly influence the immune system. In fact, gut microbiota affect more than the immune system — they seem to be critical to almost every aspect of health including our metabolism and body weight and brain function and health. Each of these factors is highly relevant to depression, reinforcing the idea of depression as a whole body disorder.
What should I eat?
There are two consequences of a poor diet that interact with the immune system and gut microbiota, as well as important aspects of brain function. These two consequences are related, but not necessarily the same thing. If we do not consume enough nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, fish etc.
Importantly, our gut microbiota are particularly reliant on an adequate intake of dietary fibre. On the other hand, a diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars has a very potent negative impact on brain proteins that we know are important in depression: proteins called neurotrophins, which protect the brain against oxidative stress and promote the growth of new brain cells.
There also seems to be an impact of saturated fat on the stress response system, which is also important in both depression and anxiety. Processed foods and high fat diets are also particularly noxious for the gut. The reason we say that these factors are related, but not the same thing, is that you can have one without the other. For example, some people will consume an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables, but consume a lot of processed, high fat-refined carbohydrate foods as well.
The other aspect of the relationship between diet and mental health is the impact of poor mental health on dietary behaviours. There is no doubt that stress and uncomfortable emotions prompt us to reach for the biscuit tin and, in fact, experiments in animals tell us that consuming sweet and fatty foods can actually reduce the stress response. However, a bit like smoking cigarettes or drinking too much, the short-term benefit is offset by the long-term damage done by these foods. Animal experiments also suggest that foods high in saturated fat and refined sugar are addictive, interacting with the dopamine system in the way that other addictive products do.
The very large body of evidence that now exists suggests that diet is important to mental health in the same way as it is to physical health. We now believe that the opposite is also true and that physical and mental health should be considered two sides of the same coin. In this sense, the same dietary and physical activity recommendations that are made to prevent and treat common physical diseases are also relevant for mental disorders.
Thus, there is no longer a justification for not addressing the whole person when treating mental disorders. It may well be that a dietitian will soon become part of every multidisciplinary psychiatric team and that, in the future, referrals to dietitians will be common for people with mental disorders. For individuals the recommendations are no different for any other aspect of health: the main constituents of diet should be plant foods such as vegetables, salads, fruits, legumes eg.
Diet and mental health
I have believed, and loudly stated, for a long time that poor nutrition was most probably a leading factor in the mental disease that runs rampant in my family. Perhaps genetic testing should be made less expensive and more available to the general population. Our foods are rampant with chemicals, hormones, and …?
Some families can barely afford to subsist, much less pay high prices for the healthier foods. I think this article is very informative. The links provided are a great place to start on finding information. Sometimes we need to first be made aware that this information exists; than search for ourselves the information pertinent to our own situations or lifestyles. Thank you berry much for your article and the links provided to give me further resources to find more info on Fitts subject. The meds are awful for your metabolism, and create brain fog.
Fitness 4Mind4Body: Diet and Nutrition
The bipolar is well controlled now, but after a few years of pre-diabetes, and not doing anything about it, I crossed the line to diabetes with a HGB A1C of 7. Refusing to take yet another med, I went to see a nutritionist who is also a doctor and can write scripts for tests. I wanted to know exactly what my body needed before adding anything to the chemistry that is me. She performed four tests: vit D, ferritin, the Spectracell, and the Alcat food sensitivites.
My vit D was deficient, so we added a supplement, ferritin was off the charts, so I started donating blood, Spectracell showed me exactly what I was deficient in relative to nutrition and aging, so I could get onto only those supplements or precursors I needed for a healthy immune system, also brewing my own Kombucha for probiotic and ployphenols and the Alcat showed me precisely what foods cause inflammation in my body. I went through a lifestyle change with no refined sugar, wheat, or soy and limited dairy minimal raw, grass fed.
Upped the organic vegetables, lowered carbs limited to legumes and wild rice , no fried foods or processed foods. Added krill oil. No cooking with any oil but coconut or red palm. I eat meat or fish once or twice a day, less than 4 oz. My psychiatrist and my medical doctor are impressed. My LDLs have come down to 76 from TC down from to My HDLs up to 66 from My Hgb A1C is now 5. No mood swings, no depression, no manic episodes.
Tranquility, serenity and feeling energized.
Food and Your Mood: Nutrition and Mental Health : NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities
Increased productivity and the brain fog has lifted. My name is Carol Chester. I have been experimenting with diet since the mids. Regardless of what evidence is presented, I go by how my body feels after eating. Plant-based foods seem the best for me, combined with daily exercise. I had to do something about my weight, my food addictions and overeating.
- Fitness 4Mind4Body: Diet and Nutrition | Mental Health America.
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I could eat bags of junk snacks washed down with sodas, with no thoughts on what it was doing to my health. Well I did IT! I quit eating all meat except WILD fish, scallops, occasionally. All the colors of the rainbow, nuts, seeds, beans, and of course fruits and veggies.
If you want off your meds, then start researching what REAL food can do for you. Petrovich—I tried the veggie thing-and guess what?? I became so supersensitive to aromatic hydrocarbons ie-perfumes-heat from gas furnaces-kitchen cleaners-all phenol based products This actually caused a severe rise in blood pressure.
How the foods you eat affect how you feel
I am now undergoing the debacle — started 2 days ago — beginning with either the chocolate food craving or the depression — one of the two symptoms causing the other — what caused which one to begin — no one seems to have any help or answers or understanding. I am 69, female, as I mentioned before and I want to add that my diet not only improved my mental well being, but I was able to finally get off of prozac.
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