YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT: “MEDITERRANEAN” MOOD SWING


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Researchers have confirmed that a diet of more fruit, vegetables, fish, and lean meat triggers significant improvements in moods of test participants and can ease depression in as little as three weeks.

The testing was part of a study conducted at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. One of the lead researchers, Heather Frances, a professor of clinical neuropsychology, stated, “We were quite surprised by the findings.”

In the study, participants were divided into two groups. All participants were on Big Pharma’s anti-depression medicines.

The “control” group was given a diet of refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and foods high in sugar. The other group ate a more “Mediterranean-style” diet consisting of about six additional portions of fruits and vegetables and the elimination of all processed and sugar-infused foods.

The second “healthy eating” group were told to eat three servings of whole grains per day, along with protein derived from lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish, and rice and beans.

The healthy-eating group could have dairy, as long as it wasn’t sweetened with sugar or corn syrup. Three tablespoons of nuts and seeds per day were also included. 

Professor Francis said the group eating the more “healthy” foods showed a significant reduction of depression symptoms.

Research shows that foods with more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourish the brain while lowering inflammation, which can cause not only depression but also increased levels of stress and anxiety.

The Culprit: Inflammation

In the Australian study, also recommended to the healthy-eating group were the spices cinnamon and turmeric. These are known to be especially effective at reducing inflammation in the intestinal tract.

But what does inflammation have to do with our emotional moods?

Dr. Andrew H. Miller, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, reports that “A vast amount of data supports the hypothesis that the immune system in general and inflammation in particular, represent a pathway to pathology in a significant number of depressed patients.”

So, while we’re well aware of how inflammation causes physical ailments such as arthritis, medical and nutritional research is now confirming that a number of factors, including to a great extent what we eat and drink, can inflame brain cells and cause depression.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), a leading psychiatric teaching hospital in Canada, has confirmed definitive evidence of the link between inflammation in the brain and depression.

This research connects with the recent results from the Australian study using the Mediterranean-style diet:  the typical diet of most people, which includes refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and large amounts of sugar, often leads to inflammation in the brain.

Conversely, foods associated with a Mediterranean-style diet, including fresh fruits, vegetables, rice and beans, lean meats, fish, and certain spices can lower the inflammatory response in as little as three weeks.

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