Worth Repeating…

I’m researching this topic for Baby Boomers and seniors for an upcoming talk at California State University, San Marcos, and thought I’d re-post this interesting article.

What If You Could Treat Depression with Salmon?

Selecting proper foods may help fight depression.

Or nuts, or certain fruits and vegetables, or even whole grains? What if dietary interventions for mental illnesses could complement (or maybe even replace) medications–with none of the side effects and a lot less expense? Welcome to the new field of nutritional psychiatry!

If It’s Good For the Heart…
Think about it. The same blood that curses through your heart also flows through your brain. It only makes sense then that lifestyle interventions promoted for healthy hearts might also benefit the brain.

Now scientists are beginning to design studies to examine the specific effects of food on mental health, with the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research leading the way. These researchers claim that a healthy diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology.

Benefits
Although still preliminary, the research is starting to show that certain types of diets have significant benefits on mental problems. Connections between food and brain health include improvements in:
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Dementia
• ADHD in adults

From Belly to Brain
Studies show that certain dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet and traditional Japanese diet, seem to support a healthy brain. Though the exact mechanisms are not yet clearly defined, scientists believe part of the reason is the effect of diet on neurotransmitters, especially serotonin; a deficit in this naturally-occurring chemical leads to depression.

Now here’s the connection to diet: 90+% of our serotonin is produced in the gut, and a diet of poor quality will decrease the amount available for our brains. Specifically, a diet high in sugar can negatively impact the trillions of gut bacteria, leading to inflammation and a depletion of serotonin.

Another important factor is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in diets of high quality. These fats, especially from seafood, are critical in fighting harmful oxidation and inflammation, and aid in maintaining brain structure and health.

A third factor relates to fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut. These foods may support the brain by creating a positive environment for friendly gut bacteria, cut inflammation, and boost brain chemicals and hormones.

What You Can Do
Taken altogether, researchers recommend the following healthful eating habits (emphasizing whole foods, not supplements) to support mental health:
• Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, especially anti-oxidant rich varieties such as tomatoes, berries, sweet potatoes, etc.
• Consume omega-3-rich seafood, including salmon, tuna and sardines
• Include healthy oils, such as olive oil, as well as fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut or kimbucha
• Enjoy nuts, legumes and whole grains
• Eat moderate amounts of lean meat
• Limit sugar and processed foods

To discover other ways to improve your mental and physical fitness, give me a call!
We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.