Thursday, February 5, 2015

Food for Thought

I’m sure we have all eaten a little too much pizza, maybe skipped breakfast here and there and possibly even lived on french fries for a majority of our youth, but do we ever stop to consider how greatly our diet affects not just our bodies, but our minds too? Just recently, Science Daily released an article (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129104217.htm) pertaining to a collaborative study that joins the field of nutrition and also the study of psychology together. 
Researchers from Melbourne University partnered with Deakin University recently concluded a study that reveals that diet and nutrition directly correlate with mental health.


 As we all know, we are what we eat, meaning if we eat poorly then we ourselves will feel poor. This feeling is not just physical but it is also mental. Lacking certain nutrients in the diet can lead to not only the dis-ease of the body, but also of the mind. Nutrients such as Amino acids, B vitamins, Folic acids, and omega-3’s can greatly improve one’s mental health because they are essentially brain food.


 Making a direct link from diet to mental health now combines nutrition and psychology into a growing profession. Instead of mass produced pharmaceuticals being prescribed for many of the diagnosed mental illnesses, we can start to see more plant based remedies along with diet changes that will improve one’s mental state.
            The integration of nutrition into clinical mental health care in order to benefit one’s state of mind is something that is a relatively new practice. Typically, as westerner’s we prefer a quick fix, or in this case a prescription. You go to the doctors, they ask you questions and then prescribe a pill for a problem and you’re on your way. However, the pill will just suppress your symptoms and neglect to cure the root of the problem. By intertwining nutrition with psychology, health professionals are working together to solve a REALLY big problem. By doing this, the patient can now be treated from a holistic perspective that involves lifestyle choices, not just quick fixes and prescriptions.
            Programs for Nutrition Psychologists are present and growing. An integrative approach to modern medicine such as this field is so necessary, especially since “One in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year” (Horwitz). With statistics like that, it is no wonder why we must approach mental health and ways to maintain a positive state of being with as much knowledge as possible.
            So why does this matter? Well consider yourself for a moment. Do you take any prescriptions? If so what are they? Would you be more willing to trade out Doritos for salmon steak instead of taking a pill? How about the last time you went to the doctor’s, did they ask you more about your symptoms, or more about your diet? Just some food for thought…

Sources:
Horwitz, Allan V. "The Epidemic in Mental Illness: Clinical Fact or Survey Artifact?" Contexts 5.1 (2006): 19-23. Web.
University of Melbourne. "Diet, nutrition essential for mental health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129104217.htm>.



            

4 comments:

  1. FANtastic! I had no idea there was an emerging field in Nutritional Psych, but as you explain it here it makes so much sense. Really exciting to think of how interdisciplinarity can potentially lead to so many positive improvements in our daily lives. Beautifully constructed blog post here, Kacie!

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  2. I am definitely a person who considers everything that goes into my body. I feel bad for my friends and family when we go out anywhere, and I am the person asking all the questions about how they prepare things. I also have an allergy to Gluten and Dairy- FUN! My doctor wanted me to try gluten to see if my allergy had changed. I keep a journal, and that use to include a lot of my food intake because I was having a lot of health problems and moods I couldn't explain. Well when I tried wheat again, it was almost immediate that I became irritable, angry and depressed. My body also was not happy with me!

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  3. Wicked cool! I had no idea that diet is directly related to mental health, but now that I think about it it totally makes sense to me. A lot of people don't really think about what they put into their bodies and they wonder why their so tired, depressed or in a weird anxiety haze. So, they go to their doctor and tell them whats wrong and get a prescription for anti-depressants or anti-anxiety when all they really need is to reconsider what they're eating and how much they are exercising. The quote, "you are what you eat" could not be more true and I'm glad that scientist have finally come out with studies that basically support that. I try to be very on top of my diet by preparing most of my food and trying not to fill my body with gnarly processed foods that I know will make me feel like trash. I'm happy that it is proven that diet is related to mental health because someone might read this and be influenced to reconsider why their taking medication and try a more holistic approach to their own health.

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  4. I think this field of study is totally amazing! People don't realize just how much of an impact the food you consume has on not only your body, but your brain! I have struggled with depression in the past, but have always refused to use any prescriptions or medication to combat symptoms. Instead, I chose to modify my diet and the results were astonishing. I wish that there was a larger emphasis on early education about the foods people eat, and how to actually eat a balanced diet. I think it's so great that you're looking to work in such a revolutionary field. Awesome post!

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