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Originally published April 7 2005

Depression and mental disorders can be prevented and treated with simple healing foods

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

A new study published in the February 15, 2005 issue of Biological Psychiatry shows that certain foods are better at treating depression than antidepressant drugs. The study found that omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in a compound called uridine were able to reduce the symptoms of depression as well as or better than three different antidepressant drugs that were tested. This research was conducted at the McLean Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard. It's very exciting to see this kind of study, because it shows yet more scientific evidence for the healing effects of food as well as the relative uselessness of prescription drugs.

Based on the results of this study, it seems silly that anyone would continue to use antidepressant drugs to try to treat depression when there are simple healing foods available that do a better job. This is especially true when considering the potentially dangerous side effects of antidepressant drugs that are now coming to light, including increased risk of suicides, violent behavior, and other similar acts of aggression. But what healing foods in particular are we talking about in this study? In addition to the omega-3 fatty acids, these health enhancing substances are found in walnuts, molasses, and fish, according to researchers. They're also found in many other foods.

It's especially interesting to note that molasses is included in this list, because molasses is produced as a waste product from the sugar refining industry. When you refine sugar beets or whole grains in order to make refined white sugar or white flour, you remove as much as 98% of the nutrition from those natural foods, leaving only a white, super sweet, highly concentrated refined sugar, and that's what ultimately gets fed to human beings. The waste product from this is a thick, brown, syrupy liquid -- that's molasses. Molasses contains most of the nutrition of the original food, including the vitamins, minerals, and various compounds such as uridine. It is this molasses that's normally sent off to be used in livestock feed, and yet what we're finding here with this research is that this molasses can help prevent depression. Eating molasses is part of a food strategy that's just as good as antidepressant drugs.

All of this also goes to show why people who pursue healthy diets tend to have such a positive outlook and outstanding mental health -- it's the foods, stupid, because the food greatly affects your mental state, and if you eat healing foods, and foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, then you're going to have healthy mental function and will probably never experience depression, especially if you combine these foods with natural sunlight. But if you eat processed foods and manufactured foods, as are generally consumed by most Americans, then of course you're going to be depressed, because you're not giving your brain the nutrients it needs to achieve a healthy mental state.

So it is in fact the food supply that is causing depression in this country. It's all the refined ingredients that have their nutrition stripped away. That's what's causing depression, but what do we do in this country to treat depression? We come up with new drugs like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, and we give those to people and charge them sometimes thousands of dollars a year to stay on these drugs. They don't need these drugs -- what they really need are just healing foods. They need to go to the grocery store, shop for some healthy foods like wheat germ, molasses, avocados, and so on, and eat those foods in order to have healthy brain balance and avoid depression. It's really not that difficult.

What else is exciting here is that we're seeing yet more benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 oils are almost miracle-class healing nutrients. They enhance heart health, they reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, they boost brain function and nerve system function, and now we're seeing they even function as effective antidepressants. Clearly, omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most exciting nutrients in foods that are available to American consumers, and you can get these in everyday foods, or as nutritional supplements in things like salmon oil or flax seed oil. You can also eat chia seeds if you'd like to get some good, healthy omega-3's.

By the way, the news of the healing potential of these foods and the fact that these foods can treat depression better than antidepressant drugs may be new to the general public and conventional medical doctors, but it's old news to those in the fields of holistic nutrition and natural health. This has been known for a very long time. We know that eating nuts and molasses and getting good nutrition greatly affects mental health. And we know that most of those who are depressed in this country are only depressed because of a lack of nutrition, whether it's through a lack of nutritionally balanced food, or a lack of what I call vibrational nutrition, which is natural sunlight. In fact, virtually every common disease today can be treated if not entirely prevented through foods and lifestyle changes. Even those diseases that sound mysterious and seem to have some weird genetic origin, such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, are really just names placed on patterns of symptoms that are more often than not caused by nutritional deficiencies in the first place.

But what's really amazing is that this is the first time we've seen studies really exploring the degree of the healing impact of these particular foods. Why is it that we live in a nation with health care priorities that cause us to spend billions of dollars testing antidepressant drugs and synthetic chemicals, but yet we will spend very little money on testing the healing qualities of natural foods and nutritional supplements? Clearly we have our priorities backwards, because it turns out that the answer to depression is readily available to every American consumer, right in their grocery store, right now. You can literally walk into your grocery store and find cures for depression, cures for early stage cancer, cures for diabetes, and cures for heart disease. There are cures right there in every grocery store, available right now.

In fact, I'm going to be working on a book called Grocery Healing that takes you through a grocery store shopping experience and shows you how to buy foods and products that can prevent or even reverse any of the modern common diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and so on. And of course I'll include depression in that book, and I'll be talking about molasses, nuts, fish oils, and wheat germ. So the answers for these diseases are really right in front of us every single day. And if you're willing to take one step further and actually visit a health food store or a natural grocery store, then you can find even more healing foods. You can bring in even better nutrition and more potent phytochemicals for preventing these chronic diseases.

It's really no big mystery -- what we need to do as a nation is simply get back to our healing foods as they come out of the ground, as they are provided by mother nature. We need to recognize the disease-promoting problems with processed and manufactured foods, everything from carbonated soft drinks to packaged instant rice products. And we need to be honest and say, look, these are the foods that are causing disease in this country, and that if we are going to be a disease-free nation, we've got to stop trying to find new synthetic chemicals to mask symptoms of disease, and stop poisoning ourselves with the food supply. We've got to ban toxic ingredients like hydrogenated oils. They should have no place whatsoever in the food supply. We've got to outlaw things like homogenized milk fats, because of the way they promote atherosclerosis and cardiovascular heart disease. We have to eliminate ingredients like sodium nitrite, which causes cancers throughout the body, especially cancers of the digestive tract such as colorectal cancer.

The list goes on and on, and if you want to know more about this list, check out the book called Grocery Warning at, which tells you what items to avoid in the food supply. Because truly, the health outcome you experience in everyday life at both the mental and physical level is determined almost entirely by the foods you eat.

Presently, the United States of America is home to the most chronically diseased population ever observed in the history of civilization, and it's no coincidence that we also eat the most processed foods, the most fast foods, the highest levels of sugar, salt and food additives than any other country in the world. In fact, we are the home to fast food chains that we franchise all around the world so that we can export disease to other countries in exchange for making a buck in the name of capitalism. We are the creators of the candy bars and the carbonated soft drinks that are now known around the world. We have taken a population that was relatively healthy fifty years ago and we have turned it into a highly diseased population, simply by altering the food supply.

And people say, oh no, that's not true, people are living longer now than 50 years ago. And actually, that's a distortion, because most of the deaths 50 years ago were infant deaths. Infants died of infectious disease due to a lack of good public sanitation. Back then, if you made it past the age of 5, you were going to live a lot longer than people live today. So the lifespan from age 5 is actually lower today than it was 50 years ago when people were eating out of their own gardens, and when they didn't have all these processed foods to consume, and when they didn't have candy bars and carbonated soft drinks and hydrogenated oils, margarines, shortening, potato chips, snack food, and so on. They were much healthier. They had much greater mental health, too.

Today we live in a nation where people are mentally unstable. We've got kids picking up automatic weapons in schools and blowing away their classmates, and then it turns out they were taking antidepressant drugs. You know, that whole thing probably could have been prevented if those kids were fed some molasses, nuts, fish oils and omega-3 supplements, and taken off of the antidepressant drugs. And all you'd have to do is put those healing ingredients into the school lunches.

But no -- today the school lunch program in our public schools is an atrocity. It has no resemblance whatsoever to good nutrition. We feed kids processed foods, refined sugars, cows' milk, and foods with artificial colors and additives that actually cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. We do this across the nation, and then we sit back and wonder why our children can't learn. So the answer to that, by the public school system, is to water down the curriculum. Let's make the classes easier, so that people can graduate now. You've got a whole nation of kids graduating from high school and many of them can't even read. They can't do basic math -- they can't calculate a 15% tip when they go eat at a restaurant. They're mentally unstable, and it's all traced back to the food supply.

So now finally, with this study, we're starting to see some of the healing effects of foods and how these foods stabilize mental health. Imagine what we could do in this country if we encouraged people to eat these healing foods. Imagine if everyone had stable mental health. Imagine if the people running our country had stable mental health -- what kind of a positive impact would that have on foreign relations and domestic priorities? It would have a huge impact. And the foods are available right now -- it's just that a lot of the time, these foods (like molasses) are just being fed to livestock. So we have mentally stable livestock and we have mentally deranged people. And the mentally deranged people are actually eating the mentally stable livestock. So who's really crazy around here anyway?

One final thought on all of this -- if you're the kind of person who follows a healthy diet and you take care of yourself, if you eat healing foods and you avoid processed foods, you've probably had the thought that half the people around you are crazy. And I actually believe that's true. I think at least half the population is mentally deranged because of their terrible diet, combined with the fact that they're on prescription drugs. You put these two together and you get a mentally deranged population; the kind of population, for example, that can't make a rational decision when it comes time to vote, or that can't understand the importance of fiscal sanity and why we need to have financial balance in this country rather than spending ourselves into oblivion.

We have a population where about 50% of the people really cannot think -- literally, they cannot think. They cannot make healthy decisions, they cannot express balanced emotional states, and the only thing conventional medicine can do to help is hop them up on more prescription drugs. Here, take some antidepressants. Oh, your cholesterol is too high? Take some statin drugs. Oh, do your joints hurt? Take some COX-2 inhibitors. And then, when your heart starts failing, they'll line you up for an organ transplant to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars that really adds nothing to the quality of life of the patient, but greatly enriches the surgeons of hospitals handling that procedure. This is what we have in this country -- this is the state of the nation, right now.

And yet the answers are so simple, they're right in front of us -- these healing foods that are affordable, that are readily available, that anyone can pick up and eat, and that are absolutely delicious. So it's time, I suggest, that doctors stop prescribing drugs when there are healing foods that do a better job. They should tell patients to start changing their diets, tell patients to eat some molasses and avoid processed foods. They should teach people to eat some raw nuts, including cashews, peanuts, and macadamia nuts. This will turn around the health of our country. But of course, that would require that we actually educate doctors about nutrition, and so far that hasn't happened in this country.

General practitioners are some of the most nutritionally illiterate professionals in our country. But that's changing. If you're a GP reading this, you probably understand how important it is to integrate nutrition into your practice. But it's the old school medical doctors who refuse to learn nutrition, who refuse to believe that food has any effect whatsoever on healing, and who continue to stick to drugs, surgery, and radiation as the only modalities for treating patients. And that is a mindset that I think belongs in the dark ages of medicine. It's time to move beyond that. It's time to get back to the foods that can enhance quality of life and that can create healthy mental statesin our population.

It's time to use the natural resources nature has provided in order to turn around the health of our population and restore some sanity in this country, because having only a 50% sanity rate is not enough. If you're in a democracy, you need at least 51% of the people to be able to think straight if you want to have any future whatsoever for the country. And right now, we are teetering with democratic disaster because of the rates of mental instability and insanity in this country. So let's get some healing foods into the mouths of people around this country. Let's try to reach for a 75% sanity rate, and then maybe we can make some good, democratic decisions about the future direction of this country. Let's get people off of these antidepressant drugs, let's end the massacres in the public schools, let's end the violence and the suicides associated with these drugs, let's get people onto healthy foods, and bring back the kind of friendly neighbor attitude we had in this country 50 years ago.

It's well within our reach -- we just have to have the awareness of the root cause of this problem and be willing to invest in nutrition education. And in our medical community, we've got to be willing to insist that patients take responsibility for the foods they put in their mouths, and we have to stop apologizing for those patients when we are doctors or health care practitioners. It's time for the doctors to take a stand and insist that their patients follow good lifestyle habits -- that's what's going to create healthy patients in the long run. The responsible doctors out there are doing that already today. That's how you know you're working with a good doctor, by the way -- when they take the time to tell you about nutrition and teach you about lifestyle changes that can help eliminate disease in your body. If you have a doctor like that, stick with her!


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