Haley McNamara, one of Dr. T’s Health Psych students, guest blogs again!:
Does your diet affect your mental health? In the scientific community, this is a difficult question to answer. Many studies on diet and nutrition rely upon notoriously inaccurate self-reporting measures. Furthermore, it is the minerals and nutrients found in food have an effect on the brain, not the food itself. All foods have an individual makeup, and it is therefore difficult to measure exactly what an individual consumes in their diet. Researchers have discovered that a “Mediterranean diet” high in fruits, vegetables, fish, and cereal is correlated with reduced risk of developing dementia, depression, and ADHD in children. The positive effects of a healthy diet on mental health may be due to substances in fruits and vegetables that decrease neuroinflammation. Another theory suggests that diets that are high in saturated fats can create “insulin resistance.” The inability to use insulin properly in turn has adverse consequences on neurological functioning. As it turns out, eating an apple a day really can keep the doctor, and psychiatrist, away. Read more about it here.