How to Use Food to Maintain Mental Health
We've heard the expression, "you are what you eat," but is it also true of how we feel? The American diet is hurting our bodies and minds, and now we have a study from researches on Nutritional Therapies for Mental Disorders that suggests it further. Our lack of essential vitamins and fatty acids have starved our neurotransmitters for the proper nutrients and have given America a 26 percent rate of mental illness, while China remains at 4 percent. Arguably, it may be true that mental health in this country is diagnosed differently than China, but even so, a 22 percent difference does suggest that something is wrong with what we're eating.
Mental Illness is Biological, Chemical and Genetic
Although mental illness is a complex disorder that has many factors, according to researchers, nutritional deficits are high in sufferers. A healthy brain relies on the important nutrients of certain foods that increase "feel good" neurotransmitters that supply a good connection of nervous tissue and brain functions. Mental illness can be improved by providing the body with the right protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, fiber and antioxidants to improve the overall function of the brain.
Omega 3's From Cold Water Fish for Neurotransmitters
The Right Food for the Right Mood
Major depression is associated with loss of interest in usual activities, a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, and relentless thoughts of suicide. The neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and GABA have long been known to be associated with depression. Since the American diet has declined in essential fatty acids from not eating fish, the incidence of depression has increased in proportion. A diet restored with Omega 3's, essential fatty acids and quality protein, can restore the nutrients needed by the brain to boost the mood and treat depression. In addition, a deficit in magnesium and the vitamin B's has also been associated with depression. Patients treated with B12 showed marked improvement in studies.
Berries Provide Complex Carbs for Neurotransmitters
Bipolar Disorder and Vitamin C
The American diet frequently does not include fresh fruits and vegetables, and that creates a disturbing 80 percent of the population with vitamin C deficiencies. People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder are very sensitive to chemicals, changes in their blood sugar chemistry and frequently are vitamin C deficient. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from sensitivities to chemicals that people with depressive/mania experience. Bipolar Disorder has been treated successfully with high dose of vitamin C and a restorative diet of fresh veggies and fruits.
Schizophrenia and Glycine
Schizophrenic patients are characterized by hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and an impaired thought process. Usually these symptoms appear during adolescence. Disturbances in amino acid metabolism have been found to be associated with schizophrenia. The ability to synthesize the neurotransmitter serotonin has been implicated with the problem of erratic mood and thought process for sufferers of schizophrenia. Patients treated with glycine at high doses responded well with mood stabilization. Foods high in glycine are gelatin, lean meats, proteins and nuts.
Veggies Provide Fiber and Energy Stores
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by relentless thoughts of performing a ritualistic behavior to release anxiety or repress those thoughts. OCD has been treated successfully with antidepressant medications that improve the serotonin neurotransmitter. This fact supports that the disorder is a problem with the synthesis of serotonin. People given diets rich in lean proteins, essential fatty acids in cold water fish, and vitamin B's showed marked improvement in symptoms.
Mental Disorders and the Foods that Heal
Foods that Heal
Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, Noradrenaline
Omega's 3, Nuts, Cold Water Fish, Quality Meats and Poultry, vitamin B12
Dopamine, Serotonin and GABA
Fresh Fruits, Veggies, Taurine containing foods
Depletion of glycine: Nuts, Lean Meats and Pork
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Serotonin and Dopamine
Essential Fatty Acids in Fish, Nuts and Lean Meats and Poultry, Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Resource and Reference
What About Supplements?
Supplements have been mentioned with positive results in the study. Amoryn, a natural supplement had very positive results with disorders related to depression. In addition, St John's Wort provided better results than the standard medication Paxil for social anxiety disorder and depression. Supplements are also safer, with less side effects and potentially harmful complications of prescription medications. Although supplements are effective in treating some mental disorders as described in the study, a healthy diet in vitamins and nutrients is paramount to improving the function of neurotransmitters in the brain. Ask your physician before making any medication changes or before adding a supplement.