By: Kirk Shelley
New research is coming to light to show you can eat your way to a stronger brain…and the effects can be profound.
For instance, the fourth leading cause of disability in America is depression.
By 2020 it is projected to be the 2nd largest in the world. Essentially it is a weak brain disease.
Depression costs $210.5 billion a year.
What if 60% of it could be reversed with changes in diet?
While we think of depression being caused by an event, it’s really about an unhealthy brain.
We seem to get that a heart attack is caused by an unhealthy heart, why shouldn’t an emotional problem be thought of as a sign of an unhealthy brain?
And when we notice that a part of our body is unhealthy, we often understand that diet and lifestyle are part of the cure.
Dr. Drew Ramsey is pushing dietary change to make the brain stronger.
In his e-course called “Eat to Beat Depression” he suggests a Mediterranean-styled diet.
At Australia’s Deakin University, they recruited 67 people with depression. Some were being treated with medications, some were not.
Half were treated with dietary change, the other with more social support.
After 12 weeks, those with improved diets saw the most improvement.
The study was expanded, and it showed that the mood improvement lasted for over six months.
Bad diets certainly make depression worse, but this study shows that foods that strengthen the brain are good medicine.
Why does this happen?
Deep fried foods and trans fats tend to create inflammation in the body, and the brain.
This is thought to be a cause of depression, though it must be noted, it cannot be proven.
Where is serotonin made?
Antidepressant medications work on the serotonin levels of the brain.
These chemical neurotransmitters are thought to help control our sense of happiness.
But the building blocks for serotonin actually come from our gut bacteria.
Dr. Lisa Mosconi who works at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York points out that the bacteria in our guts have complex ways of working with our brains and changing our moods.
If you think you are at risk of depression, then think ‘how I can make my brain stronger by changing the way I eat?’
There are dangers associated with antidepressant medications, so if you can avoid them, you will certainly be better off.
And the research is showing you can avoid them by looking at naturally reducing inflammation by diet.
Dr. Stephen Phinney (MD, Ph.D.) believes that if we had a pill that could do what a ketogenic diet can do for inflammation it would be worth billions.
But the dietary change is essentially free.
It also helps with maintaining weight and diabetes prevention.
What seems to be especially helpful in beating depression?
Vitamin B6 – we need it every day to produce serotonin.
You get it from:
Pistachios. Garlic. Salmon and tuna. Chicken. Spinach. Cabbage. Bananas. Sweet potatoes. Avocados.
DHA – Omega 3 fats are quickly grabbed by the brain to maintain its health. You can find it in wild salmon, and oysters.
There is interest in prebiotics such as garlic and onions, and probiotics such as yogurts, and fermented veggies such as sauerkraut but because of the complexity of the gut microbiome, very few people are prescriptive in recommending these but there certainly isn’t any known harm in trying them.
You build a better brain by watching what you eat.
Getting rid of inflammation through diet seems to be the best way to beat the blues without drugs.