Can Food Influence Mental Health?

Can Food Influence Mental Health?

Read time: 5 minute read

At the moment I am reading about the connection between food and mental health. The number of women/girls I have trained over the years whose depression, anxiety and general wellbeing has improved with good nutrition is crazy, and it’s something I am really passionate about. It’s surprising that we can be given food with little or no understanding of its consequences on our physical and emotional health.

I’ve read a lot about the subject as I have always believed in it through personal experience, but it was hard in the past to find good information. Modern research shows strong links between nutrition and psychological health, too much info to share in a post but here’s a bit of something I’m reading by psychiatrist Patrick Holford for anyone interested in the topic

“Most food allergies provoke mental and emotional changes. This is an idea that has been resisted by conventional allergists, but it has been well proven by clinical tests, scientific analysis and people’s experiences. We’ve learned that brain cells ‘communicate’ through the action of neurotransmitters. This is the whole foundation of a chemical model of mental health. Yet brain cells are not unique in being able to communicate in this way. Immune sells in the digestive tract, blood and body tissues also have receptors to many neurotransmitters.

Scientists are beginning to discover that there is a lot of ‘talking’ going on between the brain and nervous system, the immune system and endocrine system. One of the most established links is the ‘talking’ between the gut and the brain via gut hormones and neurotransmitters. Simultaneously, we are discovering a much closer connection between allergies and mental health.”

Study 1

30 patients suffering from anxiety, depression, confusion or difficulty with concentration were tested, using placebo-controlled trial, to discover whether individual food allergies could really produce mental symptoms in their individuals. The results showed that allergies alone, not placebos, were able to produce the following symptoms; severe depression, nervousness, feeling anger without a particular object, loss of motivation and severe mental blankness. The foods/chemicals that produced the most severe mental reactions were wheat, milk, cane sugar, tobacco smoke and eggs.

Study 2

96 patients diagnosed as suffering from alcohol dependence, major depressive disorders and schizophrenia were compared to 62 control subjects selected by adult hospital staff members for a possible food or chemical intolerance. The results showed that the group of patients diagnosed as depressive had the highest number of allergies. 80% were found to be allergic to barley and 100% were allergic to egg white. Over 50% of alcoholics tested were found to be allergic to egg white, milk, rye and barley. Out of the group of people diagnosed as schizophrenics 80% were found to be allergic to both milk and eggs. Only 9% of the control group were found to suffer from any allergies.

Study 3

Routinely treated schizophrenics, who on admission were randomly assigned to a diet free of cereal grain and milk while on the locked ward were discharged from the hospital in about half the time the control patients assigned to a high-cereal diet were. Wheat gluten secretly added to the cereal-free diet abolished this affect, suggesting that wheat gluten may be a cause of schizophrenic symptoms in susceptible individuals.

Very interesting!

‘Life On Us’, Interesting Facts on Gut Bacteria

‘Life On Us’, Interesting Facts on Gut Bacteria

Read time: 5 minute read

I have been researching a lot about gut bacteria lately, and its connection to modern illness – mainly digestive disorders and autoimmune disorders. I’ve met a great number of people over the years being a Personal Trainer who are experiencing these issues, and there is little understanding amongst the medical community about what’s causing them. Anyways it’s a massive topic and I am by no means an expert, but I thought I’d share some information;

  • The human body is home to over 100 trillion microbes (bacteria/worms) which live on and inside of our bodies
  • The general consensus in western society is that germs are bad, when in fact, when they are in balance they are responsible for keeping us alive and healthy, and are as vital to us as our organs
  • If you don’t have a good balance of microbes you are more susceptible to digestive and immune diseases
  • Babies receive their microbes from their mother’s body, so any deficiencies of the mother will likely be passed onto the baby. A child develops its ‘full set’ of microbes by the age of 2.5 years.
  • The more species of microbes you have, the healthier you tend to be
  • You develop different species and balances of microbes depending on the type of environment you live in

Western people have the highest incidence of modern diseases, both digestive and immune/auto-immune, including Crones disease, MS, Lupus, Arthritis, Celiac disease, leaky Gut, IBS, and bowel cancer (to name a few). Our bodies develop certain bacteria based firstly on our mother’s microbes at birth, and secondly on the world we live in.

The Western world is over-steralised (our food, water and the home), which is preventing our bodies from developing the microbes it needs to stay healthy and fight off illness. As a result, our immune systems are left unbalanced, and attacks itself.

Poor diet (alcohol, processed foods, particularly sugar and flour), leaves the stomach acidic, which is an environment that only ‘bad’ bacteria can survive in. If you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your digestive tract, then you can expect to find yourself with a digestive or immune-based illness. Even our mouths have more tooth decay and more gum disease than our ancestors had.

Current studies are being undertaken where they are actually infecting people with certain worms, either through injection, or healthy ‘poo transplants’ (which sounds so gross but this is where most of our good bacteria are found), and this has actually been successful in helping alleviate immune conditions or in some cases even remove the condition entirely. So, if you correct the balance of the bacteria, you can suppress the illness.

On a more specific (and kind of first world) level, the bacteria in our stomachs are extremely adaptive. So if you cut out certain foods or food groups for long periods of time, you can expect to find yourself intolerant when you try and introduce them back in, as you may not have the bacteria required to digest them anymore.

Whole food groups are most often cut out of modern weight loss/fad diets, so before you embark on cutting a heap of foods out make sure you are prepared for the side effects later down the track. Food intolerances lead to inflammation, and inflammation leads to digestive or immune illness. Some people are actually intolerant or allergic, and this can be diagnosed with a doctor.

The best thing to do here to prevent these imbalances as much as possible is by eating a BALANCED diet with a little of every food group where possible. The amounts of these depends on your own personal lifestyle. Fresh, healthy food choices (that aren’t found in packets) are the best choices.

So if you want to cut a food group out, cut out processed foods, as thats is seemingly one of the leading causes of these disorders






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