Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food

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Consider it.

Your thoughts are never “off.” It works nonstop to maintain your thoughts, movements, breathing, heartbeat, and senses—even when you’re asleep.

This suggests that in order for your brain to continue working, it needs fuel.
Your diet provides that “fuel,” and the contents of that fuel are what really matter. To put it plainly, your diet has a direct impact on your brain’s composition and physiology, which in turn influences your mood.

Similar to a high-end vehicle, your brain performs optimally when it is fed only premium gasoline. Eating nutritious foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and guards against oxidative stress, which is caused by free radicals, the body’s waste product that is created when oxygen is used and can cause cell damage.
Unfortunately, if you consume anything other than premium fuel, your brain might suffer harm, just like an expensive car.

Refined or processed foods contain “low-premium” fuel, which the brain is not particularly adept at getting rid of. Diets high in processed sugars, for instance, are detrimental to the brain.
They not only make it harder for your body to regulate insulin, but they also encourage oxidative stress and inflammation. A diet heavy in refined sugars has been linked in several studies to decreased brain function and even a worsening of symptoms associated with mood disorders including sadness.
It makes sense. Consequences are to be expected if your brain is malnourished, or if harmful inflammatory cells or free radicals are circulating within the enclosed space of your brain, further exacerbating damage to brain tissue.

It’s important to remember that the medical establishment took a while to fully acknowledge the connection between mood and eating.
They not only make it harder for your body to regulate insulin, but they also encourage oxidative stress and inflammation. A diet heavy in refined sugars has been linked in several studies to decreased brain function and even a worsening of symptoms associated with mood disorders including sadness.

It makes sense. Consequences are to be expected if your brain is malnourished, or if harmful inflammatory cells or free radicals are circulating within the enclosed space of your brain, further exacerbating damage to brain tissue.
Remarkably, the medical world took a while to fully acknowledge the connection between mood and diet.
Thankfully, research in the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry is discovering that the types of bacteria that reside in your gut have a significant impact on your behavior in addition to the obvious associations between what you eat, how you feel, and how you act.

Your diet’s effect on your mental health
Neurotransmitter serotonin mediates moods, inhibits pain, and aids in sleep and food regulation. It makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system not only aid in food digestion but also regulate your emotions, given that approximately 95% of your serotoninis
produced in the 100 million neurons that line the gastrointestinal tract.
Moreover, the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and the function of these neurons are greatly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up your intestinal microbiome.

These microorganisms are vital to your wellbeing.
They also lessen inflammation, improve nutrient absorption from food, protect the lining of your intestines and ensure that it functions as a robust barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria, and activate the neural pathways that connect your gut to your brain.

Eating a traditional diet lowers the incidence of depression by 25% to 35%, according to research comparing typical “Western” diets to “traditional” diets like the Mediterranean and traditional Japanese diets.
Researchers explain this disparity by pointing out that these traditional diets are high in fruits, vegetables, and nutritious grains and frequently contain relatively limited amounts of dairy and lean meats.
fish, and shellfish. They also lack refined, processed, and sugary foods, which are mainstays of the “Western” eating pattern. Furthermore, a lot of these unprocessed foods are fermented, which makes them naturally probiotic.
You may find it hard to believe, but researchers are beginning to accept that beneficial bacteria affect more than just what your gut breaks down and absorbs; they also have

an effect on your general degree of energy, mood, and inflammation.
Nutritional psychiatry: What does it mean for you?
Start tracking how different foods make you feel, both right after you eat them and the next day. Try following a “clean” diet for two to three weeks, meaning no sugar or processed foods.

Check your feelings.
Then, one by one, add foods back into your diet and evaluate how you are feeling.
When people “go clean,” they discover that their symptoms get worse when they reintroduce things that are known to cause inflammation and that their physical and mental health considerably improves as a result.

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