The correlation is astounding between what we eat and our mental health, yet it is so very underrated by the whole of our food system. From dinner tables to grocery stores to hospital kitchens, the general overuse of processed foods has grown exponentially in the past 40 years and the American Diet has radically changed in the last 60 years.
What we have been ingesting, what companies are feeding us, is not healthy, it’s bottom line. Statistically alone, the rise in autoimmune diseases, cancers, diabetes, the overwhelmingly high obesity rate; cannot be denied and a pill is not going to fix it. We NEED to fix the overall American Food System by demanding better. We NEED to fix our bodies and fix our Mental Health.
A study from the UCLA Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, part of the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases Brain Mapping Center says:
“Researchers have known that the brain sends signals to your gut, which is why stress and other emotions can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms. This study shows what has been suspected but until now had been proved only in animal studies: that signals travel the opposite way as well. ‘Time and time again, we hear from patients that they never felt depressed or anxious until they started experiencing problems with their gut,’ Tillisch said.
‘Our study shows that the gut–brain connection is a two-way street’. The knowledge that signals are sent from the intestine to the brain and that they can be modulated by a dietary change is likely to lead to an expansion of research aimed at finding new strategies to prevent or treat digestive, mental and neurological disorders, said Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine (digestive diseases), physiology and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s senior author.”
Which means, what we feed our body is directly correlated to how we feel. When we ingest something that is harmful to our body, our gut responds first, serotonin levels are thrown out of whack, a message is sent to the brain, which then alters brain function and emotional response.
We are what we eat… 80% of the body’s serotonin is created in our gut. Serotonin drives:
According to the U.S. National Library of medicine,
“Increased levels of antibodies to gliadin, which is derived from the wheat protein gluten, have been reported in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in cross-sectional studies… Among the individuals with mania, elevated levels at follow-up were significantly associated with re-hospitalization in the 6-month follow-up period. The monitoring and control of gluten sensitivity may have significant effects on the management of individuals hospitalized with acute mania.”
*Please read this story about Britt Reid and his 20 year battle with mental illness:
*It wasn’t until Britt was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease, that he realized the protein ‘gluten’ was to blame for all his manic actions. Shortly after going gluten-free and changing his diet; his hallucinations, deep depression and bi-polar all but disappeared.
We’ve added so many processed foods to our diet due to: money- time-convenience, that our bodies have become contaminated. A cesspool of: foreign additives, colorings, pesticides, GMO’s… We have become cesspools of processed yuck.
Sugar, especially refined sugar, has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, macular degeneration and tooth decay.
Additives, there are 224 pages of additives the FDA allows in our food. Most ingredients are created in a lab by scientists who have no idea how they will react when mixed with the hundreds of other additives we put into our bodies. No long-term studies are available to prove if they are safe or not and how they affect our body.
ABC news reported, ” The American Journal of Public Health found that people who said they couldn’t perform everyday tasks or engage in social and leisure activities because of a mental illness increased from 2 percent in 1999 to 2.7 percent in 2009. That increase amounts to nearly 2 million more people disabled by mental distress in the past decade, the report said.”
Between 2009 and 2011, states cut more than $1.8 billion from mental health services, yet mental health issues are on the rise. Mental disorders are becoming more common and an estimated 26.2 % of Americans over the age of 18, which is almost every 1 in 4, suffer from mental illness.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Issues, “By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.”
Let’s start at the beginning; with the food we fuel our bodies with. The importance of good nutrition has proven itself time and again. We all know this in the back of our minds; we should eat healthy, we should eat better, but how many of us are really doing it?
Your body is like a car, keeping up maintenance with regular oil changes, will leave you chugging along with minimal problems for years to come. Put off maintaining your car, ignoring the oil & engine lights that keep popping on, you’ll end up stranded on the side of the road, smoke streaming from your motor and in a world of hurt.
Our brains make us who we are and our bodies give us life. The rise of mental health problems and depression has become a serious issue worldwide, even more so, with the recent cutbacks of resources and aid. Let’s educate about nutrition, its value and create a healthier human existence.
Check out info on food additives here:*http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm *http://m.phys.org/_news183110037.html *http://rt.com/usa/banned-additives-food-outlawed-089/ *http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2345564/Shocking-list-US-foods-BANNED-countries-containing-dangerous-chemicals.html Other Sources: *Scientific American – Gut is Second Brain *Markers of gluten sensitivity in acute mania: a longitudinal study *What is AutoImmunity? Johns Hopkins Research Center *TrueActivist.com – Foods Linked to AutoImmune Disease *UCLA – Gut Bacteria *ThinkProgress.org – Mental Illness *National Association on Mental Illness