In a recent report published in The Lancet Psychiatry, an international group of scientists finally acknowledge what I’ve been talking about for a long time — good nutrition can prevent and even treat mental health problems.
In their report, they say convincing evidence shows diet strongly influences the risk of developing mental illness. In addition, they say modifying a patient’s diet is an effective tool for managing and treating mental health disorders.
The scientists — all members of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research — even admitted diet is “as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.”
Mental health “quick fixes” lead to violence and tragedy
Today, more than 450 million people globally suffer from some form of mental illness. But mainstream physicians in the U.S. increasingly turn to antidepressant drugs for quick fixes. In fact, between 1988 and 2008, antidepressant use in the U.S. increased by nearly 400 percent. And today, more than 10 percent of Americans take an antidepressant regularly.
Of course, I often warn you about the dangers and failures of these toxic, ineffective drugs. In fact, just last week I reported on yet more evidence that these drugs contribute to the epidemic of mass violence we now regularly witness.
Politically correct politicians and public health bureaucrats — like the new “Johnny-one-note” U.S. Surgeon General — keep trying to blame guns as the reason for the violence, despite the real evidence. But these public health experts refuse to look at the effects of these toxic drugs — a topic they should know (and do) more about.
Part of the problem stems from mainstream medicine’s insistence on placing the mind in a separate category from the body. As a result, all modern mental health treatments focus exclusively on psychotherapies and drugs.
However, there’s an old saying that “the path to a man’s [sic] heart is through his stomach.” The same holds true for mental health.
You are what you eat — in more ways than one
In an interview, Dr. Drew Ramsey, one of the report’s authors, said, “For a long time in psychiatry, we’ve known that individual vitamins can have a big impact on mental health — vitamin B12, iron, magnesium — but really in the past 10 years, studies have begun to look more at dietary patterns, and that’s been quite revealing.”
I would add all the B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and certain amino acids (found in protein) to Dr. Ramsey’s list. But he’s right on target with the last part of his comment about the importance of dietary patterns.
Remember — people consume foods, not nutrients. So I’m cautious to shine a spotlight on just a few “magic-bullet” nutrients proven to support mental health.
Focus on improving your overall diet…and your mental health will improve as well.
Four simple steps from your kitchen to a balanced mind (AND a balanced body)
First, cut out processed carbs and sugars. Second, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Third, take care to eat a healthy serving of protein with every meal. Fourth, make sure to get healthy oils into your diet every day.
In the October issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, I also told you about five foods proven to help support mental health. (And in the upcoming December issue, I will give you all the details about how to prevent and even treat dementia by improving your diet.) Subscribers can access these important articles on my website, www.drmicozzi.com, with their username and password. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.
Of course, natural medicine practitioners have known about the mind-body connection for a very long time. In fact, some of the most well-known natural approaches to mental health — such as meditation and acupuncture — involve the mind and the body. (You can learn more about these approaches and the importance of the mind-body connection in my books with Mike Jawer, Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion and Your Emotional Type.)
We already paid for two “Decades of the Brain.” But what do we have to show for it? Turns out the real answers bring us back to the basics of good nutrition.
In fact, tomorrow, I’ll tell you about 10 specific foods to incorporate into your diet to support your overall health.
- “Antidepressant Use and Lifetime History of Mental Disorders in a Community Sample: Results From the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study,” J Clin Psychiatry 2015;76(1):40–44
- “Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry,” The Lancet Psychiatry, January 2015; 2(3):271–274
- “Diet May Be As Important To Mental Health As It Is To Physical Health,” Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com) 2/24/2015