Jane Anne Coe is a typical mum. Three kids, busy home, grab and go eater, time poor. She also suffered from anxiety starting in her early 20’s and began what she thought would be a life of anti anxiety medication. At the age of 40, she began having digestive issues like gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation or diarrhoea and was told she had IBS.
To alleviate her tummy troubles she stopped eating junk food and began a journey of eating most of her food from food that was not from a factory or an assembly line and didn’t have ingredients she could not pronounce.
What happened was the unexpected. Not only did her tummy troubles go but so did her ‘broken brain’. “It was like I was in constant state of brain fog or anxiety for years and then suddenly I was clear, calm and focused.
“I noticed my mental clarity and stability before I noticed the shift in my digestive issues. My anxiety lifted, my energy soared, and then my tummy de-bloated.”
What happened to Jane Anne was not coincidental. According to a new report in Lancet Psychiatry, mental health is at an important juncture. Felice Jacka, PhD, Associate Professor at Deakin University, is senior author of Nutritional Medicine as mainstream in psychiatry, published this month in the prestigious journal Lancet Psychiatry. In this important opinion piece, the rapidly growing evidence for the relationship between dietary quality (and potential nutrient deficiencies) and mental health is highlighted. Jacka and her colleagues are putting the connection of food and mental health on the world stage to draw attention to the food/mood connection.
We are overfed and yet many of us are undernourished. The processed, sugary foods many of us are consuming do not meet the recommended intakes of several brain essential nutrients, including B vitamin group, zinc and magnesium. Our brains operate at a high metabolic rate and use lots of energy and require a substantial nutrient intake – reliant on amino acids, fats, vitamins and minerals.
“Within five days of removing most of the ‘junk food’ from my diet, I felt my memory and concentration come back. It made me wonder if my son, age 11, really had ADHD or was just like me had his brain all fogged up.”
It may seem like a quick turn around time to feel such benefits but according to researcher, Felice Jacka “we know from animal studies and a human study that poor diet can impair certain forms of memory within a week. “, she said.
Mood disorders, poor memory, depression, anxiety, ADHD and all mental health conditions are multi-factorial, influenced by genetics, toxins, environment, nutrition and more. If we use our food as one of the tools in the medical kit and an integrative approach, we will make a positive step forward in mental health, not to mention the physical body too.