How Food Affects Mental Health
What are your favorite comfort foods? Do they include pizza, ice cream, candy, nuts, lots of carbs, fried foods, fast foods, and so on? Are these just for comfort, handling stress, or your regular diet? Psychology and Psychiatry are finally catching up to the notion that food can affect mood! While this is not true for all, there are many who suffer anxiety and depression who feel better when they are careful about dietary intake. “The findings stem from an emerging field of research known as nutritional psychiatry, which looks at the relationship between diet and mental wellness. The idea that eating certain foods could promote brain health, much the way it can promote heart health, might seem like common sense. But historically, nutrition research has focused largely on how the foods we eat affect our physical health, rather than our mental health. For a long time, the potential influence of food on happiness and mental well-being, as one team of researchers recently put it, was “virtually ignored.” The article is interesting in that it discusses how a nutritional study was performed with a group of depressed individuals and discusses briefly the intervention (independent variable and control group) and the results. The findings were significant in that the group with the nutritional intervention improved faster than the “control” group. The article further discusses the neurological implications and the data collected on the gut biome. “A growing body of literature shows that the gut microbiome plays a shaping role in a variety of psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder,” a team of scientists wrote in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry last year.”
New York Times, May 6, 2021, by Anahad O’Connor
LINK TO RESOURCE
(Tiny URL) https://tinyurl.com/8eftbr42
CLASS DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
•What are the favorite comfort foods that people often consume when stressed? Why these foods in particular? Do you fit into the pattern?
•What is the field of “Nutritional Psychiatry”? What are the goals?
•A study was discussed in the article: What was the independent variable, control, and dependent variable (measurement)? What was the conclusion of the study?
•If you were a practitioner of Nutritional Psychiatry, what advice would you give a client who was depressed and already on medications?