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Posts Tagged ‘adhd’

Emotion Balancing Food

Thursday, August 8, 2013 @ 02:08 PM
posted by Therese

A balanced diet is known to have numerous physical health benefits including protection from disease, good teeth and gums, strong bones and a smaller risk of obesity and heart problems.  The less publicized benefits are for emotional well-being.  Decent quality nutritious food can protect your emotional and spiritual health.  Food doesn’t just contain a collection of vitamins, it also contains sunlight. Plants take in sunlight and store it through a process called photosynthesis. When a person or animal eats the plant, the sunlight within it is converted into energy.  Your body then absorbs this energy that in part determines how you think, your emotions and the state of your mental health.

Inflammation and Depressionjump_of_joy3
Some foods contain anti-inflammatory properties making them an important tool for guarding mental health.  Anti-inflammatory foods can help prevent or ease depression because chronic inflammation can cause depressive symptoms so foods that combat inflammation can reverse depressive thinking and behavior.  Acute (short term) inflammation is a normal and healthy part of the immune response and is caused by white blood cells rushing to an injured or diseased area to kill infection and aid in the healing process. This rush of cells results in redness and swelling.  Sometimes it isn’t possible for the body to heal an injury or viruses and bacteria can persistently activate the immune response, resulting in a long-term inflammatory reaction. Inflammation that is persistent has been implicated in numerous ill health conditions like heart disease, obesity and auto-immunity and in recent years its connection to depression and other emotional imbalances is becoming more widely understood.  Scientists have induced depression in rats in various studies using infectious agents such as BCG vaccine, which produces a low grade, chronic inflammation. When the infection clears up, the rats exhibit depressive behavior that could then be reversed with anti-depressants. This could be what is happening in the human population when we are exposed to infection.  It could explain the explosion in mental illnesses in the last few decades.  However, if you have depression don’t be afraid to see your doctor for medical advice.  A good diet is only one part of an overall treatment plan for depression and isn’t a substitute for medical care.

How Junk Food Harms
The behavior and mental health of children and teenagers has deteriorated markedly in the last 25 years and some researchers are blaming the lack of quality meals as a contributing reason.  Parents are no longer preparing meals from fresh produce or using recipe books in the numbers that they used to. The ready meal culture is upon us. Even schools are now giving children ready meals and lots of unhealthy choices like burger and fries and fast food has become so ingrained in our society that it is now viewed as the traditional western diet.  Some more enlightened medical professionals now realize that the junk food diet may be causing disorders like ADHD and depression in young children. Saturated fats make brain cell membranes less pliable, making the brain’s transmitter system less sensitive. This makes the brain prone to abnormal or errant brain activity which can result in sensory processing disorders and mental health problems.

Additionally, saturated fat content in our food has increased drastically due to intensive farming methods and we typically consume far too much. These fats can cause inflammation and increase the likelihood of emotional imbalances even more.

Heal Yourself with Healthy Food
Energy (or vibration) is contained in plant foods and they are a living food.  Eating high quality foods means that your body will contain more energy from nature and so you may feel more connected to all other living things if you eat a plant based diet. This may help in the development of spirituality or religious conviction as well as give you a healthy self-esteem. Natural food also has specific elements that can improve your mood, concentration and affect your susceptibility to disease. Folic acid has been shown to decrease depression and is present in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus and fruit like oranges, grapefruit, grapes, strawberries and raspberries. Including these foods in your diet or drinking a glass of orange juice will supplement you with folate and could even lessen your need for medication if you have depression (always consult your doctor before attempting to reduce your medication). Children with ADHD are often low in essential fatty acids and some are also deficient in zinc. Beans, seeds, nuts, oils (for instance, flaxseed oil or olive oil) and several fruits and vegetables contain essential fatty acids. Seafood is also a good source of omega 3.  This fatty acid is anti-inflammatory by nature and it is famous for its ability to ward off heart disease and help you live a long life.

Recently, omega 3′s have also been credited with keeping you happy. Experts at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine found that the imbalance of omega 6 (inflammatory) and omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) oils in the modern American diet is a ticking time bomb that contributes to depression, dyslexia, ADHD and even violent impulses and murder. If we have too much omega 6 in our diet, then too much of it will be used to build our cell membranes versus the beneficial omega 3. Omega 6 is associated with inflammation and its connected physical and mental health problems. Try to eat a portion of fish regularly or have a fish oil supplement. If this isn’t possible because you’re a vegetarian, you can use olive oil in your food and also increase your intake of beans, nuts and seeds.

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Contributed by Lisa Reynolds