We all talk about our diets in terms of our bodies. Either we want to look better or be healthier or some other physical idea of feeling better. We know that when we look better we feel better. We know that when we get healthy we feel better, but we never talk about how our diets actually affect our mental health.
Most people don’t realize that a good amount of American’s are malnourished. Now, I’m not just talking about those starving and living on the streets. I’m talking about those that live off of fast food and snacks. Have you ever looked at the side panel of the food that
we eat? I don’t just mean the calories, or fat intake. I’m not even talking about the protein or sugar, though they both play a huge role, I’m talking about actual vitamins and minerals. A lot of our packaged foods don’t even have a label for anything more than iron, sodium or maybe potassium.
In the book “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett they have a modernized version of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. In this “Famine” is not a beast causing droughts or potato plagues he is the owner or a fast food chain. He talks about how he’s killing people slowly with their permission. Not only are they getting fat and causing their own diabetes and heart disease but they don’t even realize that they are malnourished. Because they are full.
There has been a link made to too much sugar and worsening symptoms of depression and schizophrenia. Not enough zinc and Omega fatty acid can affect brain development in general. This is why breastfeeding is the preferred way to feed babies, and the recommendations are changing and saying it’s best to give children breast milk till they’re 3. My son stopped on his own a little over one, so I changed to a toddle formula that included DHA and other nutrients that milk doesn’t have and that I know my son would fight me in eating.
There is an add that pops up on my facebook feed all the time about Micro-nutrients and how important they are for children with ADD/ADHD and other behavior problems. This isn’t a lie. The whole point of the add is to sell some special high micro-nutrient shake for way too much money to worried moms, but in reality micro-nutrients are just vitamins and minerals found in REAL food. Unprocessed fruits, veggies, and meats.
So by all means if you have a kid like mine who goes days living off of crackers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then absolutely invest in a shake, or a vitamin, or cover your fruit with chocolate, what ever gets your kids to eat them. But as a grown up, you have the choice to make about what you want to eat. So instead of always reaching for the pills or the chocolate or whatever helps your mood swings and depression, try talking to your doctor about which vitamins are best to help. And a little cardio can’t hurt.