Eat Well To Be Well
by Mira Dessy
We all need to eat. Just as importantly we need to eat well. When we eat foods that support our body, nourishing it appropriately, we also support our mental state. A recent study, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, showed that a clear majority of those who ate fast food and commercial baked goods were more likely to develop depression than those who did not. The study also showed that the more fast food you consumed the greater the risk of depression. Other studies point to the strong indication that fast food can be an addictive substance. And in The Antianxiety Food Solution the author, Trudy Scott, CN, notes that there is a “strong link between good mental health and eating real, whole foods.” It makes sense, therefore, to focus on the diet as part of the strategy for both physical and mental health.
If we stop eating those foods which are nutritionally depleting, we make room in our nutritional plan for foods which are supportive to our health. The following foods should be reduced or eliminated from the diet:
In addition to removing foods which are destabilizing for our health and our mood we can support balanced mood function and overall health through the addition of the following:
A person weighing 150 lbs
Divided in half = 75 lbs
75 ounces = 9.4 cups
This number then needs to be further modified depending on whether you are living in an extreme temperature location, if you are exercising and how much, if you are pregnant or nursing, and/or how much of your hydration may be coming from food. Obviously if you are out running a 5K, doing bikram yoga or even spending long hours in the sun doing yard work you need to up your fluid intake. But it serves well as a general starting point.
Drug and alcohol use also tends to inhibit the body's ability properly utilize fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K as well as the minerals calcium and iron. Drug and alcohol abuse also have a negative effect on liver and kidney function making it harder for the body to process toxins and interfering with metabolic function.
Staying well-hydrated and eating a balanced diet can not only help keep the body stable, they are supportive against the physical depletions that can lead to relapse of substance and alcohol abuse. Nutrition is one part of a well-rounded plan for health and wellness.
Fast food 'as addictive as heroin', Thursday, 30 January, 2003, BBC World New Edition, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2707143.stm
Garber AK, Lustig RH, Is fast food addictive?, Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2011 Sep;4(3):146-62., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21999689
Harp, MJ and Fox LW, Correlations of the Physical Symptoms of Hypoglycemia with the Psychological Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, volume 5, number 1, 1990, http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1990/pdf/1990-v05n01-p008.pdf
Mateljan, George, World's Healthiest Foods, Seattle, Washington, 2006
Sanchez-Villegas, A., et al, Fast-food and commercial baked goods consumption and the risk of depression, Public Health Nutrition, Volume 15, Issue 3, Pages 424-32, 2012, http://www.mendeley.com/research/fastfood-commercial-baked-goods-consumption-risk-depression/
Scott, Trudy, The Antianxiety Food Solution, New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Oakland, CA, 2011
Mira Dessy is a Certified Nutrition Educator and a professional member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, the American Holistic Health Association and the Weston A. Price Foundation. She lives and works in The Woodlands, TX and can be found online at http://www.grainsandmore.com.