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Listen to Michele’s radio interview (bottom of this blog).

“Mental Health Hijackers may be lurking in your food” , says Michele Chevalley Hedge, Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, and founder of A Healthy View.

Anxiety and Depression are the most common and talked about mental health concerns but there are others that are increasing at alarming rates.

Diseases like Alzheimer’s, Dementia, early onset Alzheimer’s ADD, ADHD, Autism and Mood Disorders are spiralling out of control and have a multitude of causes. Inflammation, trauma, lifestyle, toxic exposure, illness and genetics are some of the many risk factors for poor mental health. Current leading edge research is now confirming that nutrition – the food we eat daily – can affect our mental wellbeing. Good nutrition provides essential minerals and vitamins that allow for many of the biochemical processes that make our brain work. Sadly, we are finding that we are overfed but under nourished in nutrients that assist with mood, behaviour, memory, cognitive and other neurological functions.

“All illnesses are multifactorial and there are many things we cannot control …… but one thing we can control is how we feed ourselves. Let’s make eating work for us and think of it as ‘preventative wellness.’” says Michele Chevalley Hedge in a recent radio interview.

When you have a cold or the flu, you go to the doctor. If you have a broken bone, you go to the hospital.  But what if there were no physical signs for the illness you are experiencing?
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“My colleagues don’t see it, so they don’t even know I’m unwell. If I was to cough and sniffle they would tell me to go home, if I had my arm in a cast they would offer to make me a cup of tea. Before being diagnosed I didn’t even recognise the signs in myself, it wasn’t something anyone ever talked about”. quote from just your everyday employee.
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  • Almost half (45%) of Aussies will suffer a mental illness in their lifetime.
  • One in five (20 %) Australians experience a mental illness every year, only about a third of them will seek treatment. Most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. These three can occur in combination.
  • The onset of mental illness is typically around mid-to-late adolescence and Australian youth (18-24 years old) have the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group.
  • One out of every four ( 25%) 17-24 female between the ages of 17-24 will suffer from depression or anxiety. (1)

Five evidence based nutritional hacks to consider improving mental health risks:

    • B12 – may cause depression/ anxiety. Vegans and vegetarians are at risk. This may be one case where supplementation is required, but only after blood tests are complete.
    • Iron – deficiency is found in ADHD. Vegan, vegetarians, people who avoid red meat, and females with heavy periods are at risk. Poor iron stores leads to exhaustion, apathy, and depression.
    • Iodine & Selenium – deficiency is often found in thyroid function. One out of four women in Australia have a sub clinical thyroid condition. Poor thyroid functions makes people moody, exhausted, and depressed.
    • Gut Bacteria -“95% serotonin is manufactured and stored in the gut.” Excess hidden sugar creates a bad gut. When our gut health is out our happy hormone, serotonin, may be at risk of reaching its full potential.
    • Gluten – May be inflammatory in the body. Inflammation and systemic inflammation have links to depression and alzehiemers. (2) This is emerging research. Watch this space and if you feel that gluten is creating brain fog, lack of concentration, and exhaustion- don’t wait for the research – test yourself.

1.http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/Factsandfiguresaboutmentalhealthandmooddisorders.pdf
2 http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcpc1514473

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