Recent studies released in the British press have come to the conclusion that many of today’s mental illnesses may be due to our diet. The rise in these conditions over the last 50 years coincides with our increased consumption of junk foods, chemical additives and processed meals.

In reviewing the recent research, the Mental Health Foundation has found a clear link between ADD, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia and lack of essential fats, vitamins and minerals in our diets. One of the reports states:

Food can have an immediate and lasting effect on mental health and behavior because of the way it affects the structure and function of the brain.”

For example, they found a much higher incidence of depression in countries which have a low intake of fish. They also discovered that schizophrenia is linked with a deficiency of antioxidant vitamins and essential fats.

A pioneering mental health program is being carried out at Rotherham in the UK. There doctors are treating their patients, in part, with dietary changes. Omega 3 fatty acids, multivitamins, fish, leafy greens and nuts were added to the patients diets. Significant reductions in depression were seen and patients reported an improvement in both mood and energy levels.

The brain requires a mixture of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids (EFAs) – particularly Omega 3 and Omega 6 – vitamins and water to function properly. Highly processed foods often contain high levels of trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils), which can assume the same position in the brain as the EFAs, without delivering the proper nutrients.

Take a look at your own diet. Are you feeding your brain what it needs? If not, you may want to start eating more of the “brain healthy” foods below:

    Vegetables, leafy greens in particular
    Seeds and nuts
    Whole grains
    Wheat germ
    Organic eggs
    Organic farmed or wild fish, especially deep sea varieties and salmon

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