Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth has linked diets high in processed foods, soft drinks and sweets to an increased risk of poor behaviours and emotional disorders. Researchers at Victoria’s Deakin University (where I studied nutrition) want to take a bunch of people with depression, encourage them to eat better and watch to see if their mental health improves? The diet will be similar to dietary guidelines with reduced fat dairy, lean meat, vegetable oils, fruit, vegetable, grains, legumes and raw unsalted nuts. The lead researcher Dr Felice Jacka hopes it will help build the case for health professionals to recommend better diets for patients with depression and for governments to do more to improve our food environment, which she believes is undermining mental as well as physical health.
While I’m pleased with Dr Jacka’s ultraistic plan, I’m not prepared to wait for her, or for the government or food companies to turn around their enormously profitable corporations, especially since the Nestle food company CEO believes that water is not a human right and should be purchased like any other food commodity. What notice will they take of research such as Dr Jacka’s? It’s time to take matters into your own hands and begin a change in food and lifestyle.
The head and body are not separate, just in case you haven’t noticed. We have a neck that connects them and the brain is physical, just like the body. By looking at improving the physical health of the body, you will improve the brain health of the body. Besides, nobody knows where the mind is; there is no proof of it being in the brain. Therefore, let’s cover all bases by feeding brain and body for health. This whole ridiculous notion that they are separate has never made any sense to me. Blood, nerves, bones, hormones, enzymes and micro biomes all connect and move through the neck from brain to body and body to brain via many channels; they are in it together.
The body is a complicated system; the more I learn the more I don’t know, but what I do know is that when we give it the right resources, it starts to work its own unique magic, physically and mentally. Recent research has shown that we are not alone and that our body is not entirely our body. In fact, it has a very large percentage of bacteria and other small creatures that inhabit the body for mutual benefit. These microorganisms effect hormones, immunity, stress, brain, muscle, nervous system, blood and much more. The balance and stability of this mutual need for each other is the key to our health, physically and mentally. Collectively, they are known as the microbiome and their health has everything to do with our health.
Food and drugs affect the balance of our microbiome. We are 90% microbiomes and 10% our own cells. Though the microbiome are tiny in size, it once appeared that our own human cells predominated. It is only recently that we have begun to study these organisms in depth. Most of them live within the gut and cannot be cultured but with the advent of advanced genetic testing, we have been able to have a better understanding of the variety and numbers of microbes within, including bacteria, archaea, eukaryotic parasites, protozoans and fungi.
With the advent of antibiotics, worming, antifungals and anti anything small that moves, we have disturbed the balance of our microbiomes. The typical SAD diet has also had a lot to do with this disturbance, as has a disconnect with sleep and sunlight, and unrelenting stress. To find health mentally and physically, a lifestyle change is imperative to promote the balance of the microbiome. We know that the gut of the hunter gatherer had a mass more of microbiomes than that of modern man. Our modern lifestyles have changed this.
There is a connection between the gut, the brain and mental illness. A disturbance in the microbiome has an effect on brain-derived neuron fertilisers or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). When low in the wrong place at the wrong time, BDNF’s are implicated in depression, chronic anxiety syndromes and psychiatric disease. It was once thought that when brain cells died, that was the end of the them but recent research has shown BDNF’s help with neuroregeneration, neuroplasticity and repair, as well as grow new brain cells, especially in some areas such as the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is important for learning, memory and psychotic health. So to nurture the microbiome is to nurture BDNF’s, which in turn nurture the brain.
What I’ve written so far is but the tip of the iceberg as to what we know. Are we going to wait for more knowledge or act on the plethora of information we have on how to help people with depression and other disorders? My father always says there are no incurable diseases, only incurable people. It’s a choice as to whether you are prepared to make the changes and put the work in to help your own psychiatric disorder. Can we help everyone? Probably not, but at least give it a try.
If you are on medications, before you throw them away you must get medical advice. But before you do get medical advice (as most will not advocate a change in lifestyle or diet), start the 10 steps and begin your journey back to health. If you don’t do anything, don’t expect a different result.
Following are the 10 things that need to be addressed to improve mental health, which of course will also improve physical health. Remember the two are connected, there is no disconnect.
- Take on an elimination protocol as outlined in the following links: 21 Step Reset, 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol
- Consume fermented foods or Changing Habits dried fermented food, otherwise known as Changing Habits Probiotics
- Improve your immune system with the help of Changing Habits food based nutrients; including Camu Camu, Supreme Green Blend, Inca Inchi Oil and Colloidal Minerals
- Make sure sleep becomes a priority - bed by 9.00pm and get at least 8 to 9 hours a night
- Have some down time throughout the day, as well as 10 minutes of midday sunshine without sunscreens and sunglasses
- Find skills to help cope with stress in your life
- Move your body - 20 minutes of intense exercise 4 times a week is enough to change your genetic potential for stress and disease
- Eliminate toxic relationships and nurture the relationships that nurture you
- Remove all unnecessary medications from daily consumption, especially any medications that destroy the microbiomes including antibiotics, synthetic hormones and steroids. (I must put a disclosure here - seek medical advice)
- Find a holistic integrative doctor that will support you on your quest for health - you may have to do this via a Skype consultation if you don’t have one in your area.
Please feel free to pass this article onto anyone you feel may need this information.