How Does Your Diet Affect Your Mental Health?
Have you ever noticed how food affects your mood? When we’re stressed or depressed we tend to reach for sugary, fatty comfort foods, chocolate, ice-cream or perhaps pizza. But could that be actually making us feel worse? Could eating better make us feel better?
In 17th-century England, a “hot and moist diet” was thought to provide a cure for melancholy. Today, the idea that food can have an impact on emotional health hasn’t gone away; it just looks a little different. The internet is littered with food-based mental-health fixes, ranging from books with titles like The Happiness Diet to recipes for things like “better than Prozac” turmeric lemonade. read more at sbs.com.au
But is there any science behind this? We know that some foods are healthier for our brains, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been suprised to discover that there’s a new field of research called nutritional psychiatry. Professor of nutrition at Kansas State University, Mark Haub describes it as “a field where both mental health and nutrition professionals can cross over and better understand how food and nutrients can affect mental health.”
Half of the group were made to eat a healthy diet focusing on extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, eggs, fruits, vegetables, fatty fish and grass-fed beef. The other half continued eating their usual diets and as a were required to attend social support sessions.
The group’s symptoms were graded on a standard depression scale. After three months of healthier eating, those in the healthy eating group saw their scores improve on average by about 11 points. Impressively, a third of the healthy eating group now had scores so low that they were no longer classed as depressed. The other group who had social support but no special dietary instructions improved by only about 4 points and only 8% were no longer depressed.
This may be one small piece or research, but over the past 10 years, many more studies have had similar findings. Researchers analyzed the results of 21 similar projects from a variety of institutions and came up with the following conclusion:
A dietary pattern characterized by a high intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression. A dietary pattern characterized by a high consumption of red and/or processed meat, refined grains, sweets, high-fat dairy products, butter, potatoes and high-fat gravy, and low intakes of fruits and vegetables is associated with an increased risk of depression. The results of this meta-analysis suggest that healthy pattern may decrease the risk of depression, whereas western-style may increase the risk of depression. Via sciencedirect.com
So not only can a typical Mediterranean diet loaded with fresh vegetables, fruit and lean meats, help you lose weight, it can also improve your mood.
For anyone experiencing depression, talking to a mental health professional should be the first port of call. However, a change in diet is a complementary approach which could certainly help.
www.weightodiet.com brings you the latest in diet science to help you become slimmer and feel better. We sort the fact from the fiction and find the best diets to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
How many calories do you think you’re eating?
One of the hidden causes of obesity may be that people underestimate the number of calories they consume.
The UK’s Office of National Statistics have just released new research which shows that Britons underestimate the amount of calories they eat by up to 50%. Continue reading “How many calories do you think you’re eating?” »
Boost your Immune System with Plant-Based Foods
Many people enjoy a plant based diet and there is a lot to be said for the extra vitamins and minerals which a varied vegetarian diet can provide.
Vegetarianism is something that has never really been part of my life. It’s not that I don’t eat meatless meals – and I enjoy them. However, the pressure of being put on the spot and having to cook interesting and tasty vegetarian food for for my friends I find really stressful. Continue reading “Boost your Immune System with Plant-Based Foods” »
How To Add High Protein Vegetarian Food to Your Diet
Whether you’re already vegetarian or simply trying to add more plant based foods into your diet, one of the main challenges can be to find good vegetarian sources of protein.
This problem is even more difficult if you are trying to lose weight. A high carb diet is much easier on a vegetarian diet, but trying to swap to a regime where you are eating protein at every meal makes meal planning much more difficult.
Nutritionist Jessica Cording writing in mindbodygreen has observed the problem in her own clients:
Sometimes it can be a challenge to work protein in consistently throughout the day. I find that many of my clients who complain of feeling hungry are falling a little short of their goal or having most of their protein at one meal rather than spreading it out throughout the day. This also comes up when someone is transitioning to a plant-based diet that involves less of the animal proteins they’re used to. read more at mindbodygreen.com
Most people know that eggs are a great source of protein. Cheese also contains a significant amounts of high quality proteins. Cottage cheese is particularly good if you’re following a weight loss diet. If you find the texture of cottage cheese unpalatable, then ricotta is a great, and very versatile, alternative.
Diet Isn’t Just About Weight Management: Foods that can help and harm your brain
Keeping Your Brain Sharp With The Right Diet
Needing to lose weight should not be the only reason to watch our diets. Dr >Alessandro R Demaio points out that our weight or body mass index is not necessarily related to good health. Even if we’re slim we should still make a point of eating healthy foods. He says:
The most compelling reason to eat healthy foods is the correlation between good nutrition and well-being. Coupled with regular exercise, eating a diet rich in whole foods and grains, healthy oils and low in sugar and salt, has been shown to convey a number of benefits. These include a longer life with less pain and suffering, less risk of back pain or muscular problems and even an increased libido… read more at theconversation.com
As important as our physical wellbeing is the effect of what we eat upon on our brain. Continue reading “Diet Isn’t Just About Weight Management: Foods that can help and harm your brain” »
How To Survive the Party Season Without Piling on Pounds
‘Tis the season to be jolly! Sometimes the holiday season seems like an endless round of Christmas lunches, parties, and drinks and nibbles with friends. This can spell disaster for our waistlines and by the time New Year rolls around we’re feeling like the only solution is to find the best diet. So here are some tips to help you avoid ending the holiday season with a belly as tubby as Santa’s. Continue reading “How To Survive the Party Season Without Piling on Pounds” »
What Is The Best Sweetener For Weight Loss?
I have a sweet tooth and reducing the amount of sugar I consume has been difficult. There are however, many alternative sweeteners to sugar available, but it’s not always easy to decide out which sugar replacement to use to help you lose weight.
What should we look for in a healthy sweetener?
Blood sugar levels are one of the critical factor in maintaining a healthy weight. Many diet books advocate the use of honey as a replacement for sugar, and it’s true that honey is better for you than refined white sugar, eating it still has a significant effect on blood sugar levels, as this tweet from nutritionist JJ Smith shows. Continue reading “What Is The Best Sweetener For Weight Loss?” »
Are You Talking Yourself Out Of Losing Weight?
What is your preferred style of news feed? Do you prefer it to be like Chinese food (or Twitter), in bite-sized chunks? Or perhaps you prefer something meatier? Some people like to learn new things by being be spoon fed the details.
I was surprised when it was pointed out to me how many of the phrases and sayings we use in everyday conversation were related to food, eating and digestion.
When it comes to taking in or new information and learning new things, the parallels between language and eating behavior are shocking – once you start to notice them! Continue reading “Are You Talking Yourself Out Of Losing Weight?” »
Are Personalized Diets The Way Forward?
Do you have friends who can east whatever they like and never appear to put on a pound? They can stick to a single wardrobe of clothes because everything always fits and they’re happy when 6pm rolls round because it’s time for their first glass of wine of the day!
A group of Israeli scientists from the Weizmann Institute in Tel Aviv have just shown what our common sense told us years ago. People’s bodies react very differently to eating the same foods. This may be why some dieters simply cannot lose weight, yet other people can eat all sorts of junk food and still stay slim. Their study is known as the Personalized Nutrition Project. Continue reading “Are Personalized Diets The Way Forward?” »
7 Tips To Help You Stick To A Diet
We recently finished testing the 3 Week Diet (read our three week diet reviews). It’s basically a low carb diet in 4 phases which aims to provide the largest possible weight loss in the shortest amount of time.
Whether you are trying to lose weight quickly or more gradually, sticking to a diet is never the easiest thing to do. So here are the 7 most helpful tips we found from our experiences as we slimmed our way through the 21 days. Continue reading “7 Tips To Help You Stick To A Diet” »