Did you know that obesity now kills more people than smoking? Alarming new research shows that non-communicable disease – ie those that cannot be transmitted from person to person, account for the largest cause of early mortality and are predicted to cost the global community more than thirty trillion US dollars over the next fifteen years.
This is obviously a big issue. When it was finally accepted that smoking was killing us, the government banned to endorsement and advertisement of these products. Similarly, we need to work towards banning the advertisement of junk foods that are slowly killing us. Our children are exposed to intensive advertising by the major junk food outlets from a young age, and are preconditioned to see these foods as being cool or hip to eat.
Research is now also showing that what we eat impacts not only on our waistline, but on our moods as well. Studies in the area are now consistently finding that those that eat junk foods like chocolate, baked goods, pizza and deep fried food are more likely to have depression and anxiety, and that those that eat a diet consisting of primarily fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. This may seem obvious but a dietary link to these conditions has been denied by the medical community for years. This research shows that by modifying our diets and our children’s diets we are able to prevent mental health issues from arising.
From a biochemical perspective this makes sense. To keep balance of your neurotransmitters (mood hormones), your body requires certain proteins, vitamins and minerals that are used as building blocks and cofactors for them to work properly. A diet that is higher in whole foods is more nutrient dense, providing more of the building blocks required for proper neurotransmitter function, and therefore more stable moods.
From research we know that eating the following foods can help to prevent or reduce the severity of mood disorders:
- Fresh fruit
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Lean meat
And to prevent depression and anxiety, you’ll want to avoid the following foods:
- High sugar foods – chocolate, lollies, cakes, biscuits
- Deep fried foods
- Simple carbohydrates like white bread
- Pastries, cakes and biscuits
The wrong dietary balance can leave you devoid of essential nutrients and prone to blood sugar fluctuations, which anyone that gets ‘hangry’ would agree can affect your moods even more. If you’re not sure what to eat, book an appointment with one of our naturopaths or nutritionists, or come to a nutritional coaching workshop in the clinic.