The five best diet hacks to transform your mental health

There are many dietary factors that can affect brain function. Here I focus on the five that I encountered most frequently in clinic. The clue to identifying the right one(s) often lies in the accompanying physical symptoms. If you suffer from depression and anxiety, you too might spot the clues. Here’s a guide to nutritional sleuthing for mental well-being.

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How to Detox Your Brain

Sometimes described as “cellular housekeeping”, autophagy — meaning “self-eating” in Greek – is a process that takes place in all mammalian cells and tissues. It was in the 1960s that researchers first became aware that each cell can destroy its own components. These components include damaged proteins and organelles, considered to be “common features of neurodegenerative diseases”, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

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Brain on Fire — How Inflammation Damages Mental Health

Inflammation is often visible and painful. Red, angry swellings make their presence felt. Yet sometimes inflammation is invisible and painless; you would never know it was there. When inflammation flares in the brain, it does so silently. Chronic, low-grade inflammation in the brain is a factor in the development of many neurodegenerative diseases, including depression and dementia. It is also seen in Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

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How Your Gut Talks to Your Brain and Changes Your Mood

It is a curious fact that antidepressants are a common treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. But why give Prozac to someone with abdominal pain? Antidepressants work because the gut and brain are inextricably linked. What happens in the gut does not stay in the gut — it travels to the brain. More than half of all patients with IBS are affected by a mood disorder.

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How Exercise Can Help Stop Alzheimer’s Disease

Exercise, as you know, has many positive benefits. Aside from raising your buff rating, it improves all aspects of health, from pulmonary and musculoskeletal fitness, from immunity to metabolism. It is celebrated for its heart health benefits, and because cardiovascular fitness is considered a predictor of long-term health exercise can extend your life expectancy.

However, there’s another area of exercise research that is proving to be just as positive, and that’s brain health. It’s becoming clear that the right kind of exercise can help prevent the onset of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

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Does sugar cause depression?

Sugar makes you fat, which is bad enough. But can it really make you depressed? Clinically depressed, even? The evidence is compelling: it’s a journey that starts with a mild blood sugar imbalance and can end with a serious mood disorder.

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The four stages of vitamin B12 deficiency

If you recently switched to a 100% plant-based diet, you can relax for quite some time. The adult liver can store enough vitamin B12 to last 1–5 years. But after that, and without “careful planning”, your health could suffer serious and irreversible damage.

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The physical symptoms of mental illness

Alicia was certainly different, but she was typical in one regard: she had a combination of physical and mental symptoms. And, as it turned out, there was one underlying cause. Alicia’s brain lacked fatty acids, and this deficiency was manifesting in other parts of her body.

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How your skin colour is linked to your mental health

You probably associate vitamin D with bone health, but that’s just a fraction of the picture. There are receptor sites for this vitamin throughout the brain and deficiency is associated with a range of neurological disorders, including depression, schizophrenia, dementia (including Alzheimer’s) and Parkinson’s disease.

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