(NaturalNews) Can donuts and processed foods like them be causing people to become depressed? Researchers say the evidence suggests that is the case.
We already know that the average lousy American diet can cause obesity, which then can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. But too few of us really understand the connection between what we eat and how we think.
As noted by Fox News, the National Institutes of Health says that approximately one-quarter of all Americans "suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year" - and new research is suggesting that our diets are probably contributing to some of the craziness.
Step away from the donuts
Fox News reported:
The link between diet and mental health is a new field of research, but studies have already shown a close association between the two topics. Results consistently indicate that eating foods rich in whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and whole grains are associated with fewer incidences of mental health problems, while diets high in junk food (fried and processed foods, sugar, refined grains) are associated with higher rates.
And, of course, donuts.
It's important to mention that so far, the evidence is just a correlation; in scientific research, association does not mean causation. However, even if it is not yet fully understood how some foods can contribute to mental health issues, the strong connection is difficult to simply ignore. Much of the research that has been occurring regarding the stomach-to-brain connection and the role that plays in mental illness is ongoing.
But already scientists have a theory: Microbes, both good and bad, live in the gastrointestinal tract (consider that probiotic yogurt works to support the good ones). Researchers now believe that these gut microbes are in direct communication with the brain and they furthermore have a very powerful role in the makeup of our physical and mental health.
So, simply put, when we consume too much of a poor diet, we encourage the growth of disease-promoting bacteria, and that in turn upsets the balance of the gut microbiome. Studies in rodents have shown that an out-of-balance gut microbiome can, among other things, initial brain chemistry changes, when can then alter mood and behavior that ultimately leads to depression and anxiety.
Paleo Diet helps, according to research
Human studies are just now getting underway, but there are already a number of stories of people who have given up their diet of hyper-sugar-processed-food-heavy Standard American Diet in favor of unprocessed whole foods, and have, as a result, found relief from their mental health symptoms. Some have adhered to what is called the Paleo Diet, which consists of vegetables, fruit, meats and fish but no grains; they have been particularly vocal about the positive effects the change has had on their mood disorders, the Fox News report said, adding:
The Paleo Diet and other whole-food-oriented eating regimens seem to work well to heal the gut microbiome and control systemic inflammation because antioxidant-rich vegetables and healthy omega-3 fats (like the ones in grass-fed beef and fish) have anti-inflammatory effects on the body - and the mind.
And as reported by NaturalNews, earlier studies have shown that the Paleo Diet works to improve health overall. The University of California San Francisco School of Medicine's Department of Medicine released a study in 2013 showing that the diet http://www.naturalnews.com.
Researchers say it is too yet to know whether one day doctors will prescribe a better diet as a means of improving mental health conditions instead of psychotropic drugs (though we believe the evidence is already clear on this issue). But at the very least it looks promising that diet will definitely have a huge role to help people manage psychological issues in the future, as more research proves its benefits.