Ever heard of Nutritional Psychiatry?
Eating healthy food is not a revolutionary idea, but Nutritional Psychiatry is a relatively new and growing field that’s beginning to change the way we look at food. Nutritional psychiatry is the evolving study of how dietary intervention can reduce rates of psychiatric disorders. There have been many recent studies that have found evidence of associations between diet quality and health. These studies found how a good diet can prevent depression, influence mental health outcomes in children, and even affect brain plasticity.
What is considered a “clean” diet?
According to an article in Harvard Health Publications, our brains function better on food from traditional diets of vegetables, fruits, unprocessed gains, fish, seafood, and small amounts of meat and dairy. The harmful staples we ingest from a “Western” diet are processed and refined foods and sugars that don’t appear in traditional diets.
Further, scientists have observed that different kinds of foods can affect how individuals feel, sleep, and behave overall. Some of the negative effects observed thus far from a poor diet are:
- Refined sugars decreasing body’s regulation of insulin, increasing inflammation, and spiking oxidative stress
- Reduced levels of neurotransmitters produced in the gastrointestinal tract that help regulate sleep, appetite, mood, and pain
- Lack of “good” bacteria from a healthy diet weakens the barrier of the intestines, lowering protection against toxins and “bad” bacteria, which impedes absorption of quality nutrients
- Traditional diets show 25% to 35% lower risk of depression than a Western diet
How to “go clean”
After absorbing all of this overwhelming information, what now? Nutritionists recommend cutting out all processed foods and refined sugar prominent in a Western diet for at least two to three weeks. You may want to cut out dairy or gluten—everyone is different. After that “clean” period, introduce foods back into your diet one by one. Pay attention to how foods make you feel, even the day after you eat them. You may be surprised in the changes you notice in yourself and the transformation in your diet!