The World Health Organization views mental health as: “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Therefore mental health is more than an absence of autism, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety. Mental health is complex. It can be impacted by personal experiences, the environment, accidents, exercise, personal behavior choices, and nutrition.
Even with all these variables I believe nutrition is a primary foundation for optimizing long-term mental health. Proper nutrition provides the brain with the necessary building blocks it requires to function at peak performance. Better brain function then improves the odds for either adapting to or dealing with less than optimum situations such as personal experiences, the environment, accidents, exercise, and personal behavior choices.
Alzheimer’s disease is just another chronic disease. Its cause is not unique. Chronic diseases are literally body failings both physical and mental. Nearly all chronic diseases are associated with the foods people eat. Some chronic diseases are heritable but usually they will not be expressed unless the body is abused. In nearly all cases the greatest abuse is caused by the food eaten. Think traditional food: if it killed your parents, it will most likely kill you too -- the same way.
Our physical bodies recognize food as merely a collection of chemicals. (The chemical inputs of food trump all other chemicals. In other words, “organic” is not the answer.) The body requires a complete set of chemicals for either the construction of body parts, the function of body parts, or as fuel. Some of the chemicals required are essential. If food does not contain the essential chemicals in proper balance the body will be deficient because it won’t be able to create the missing essential chemical.
For more than 30 years, leading edge nutritional scientists have been bemoaning the fact that most Americans are suffering from an Omega-3 deficiency. Thousands of studies show a strong correlation between brain function and the BALANCE of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids in body tissues. Both fatty acids are essential. They come primarily in a one-to-one balance from the green leaf, the foundation food for all animal life. When the Omega-6 to Omega-3 balance exceeds 4:1, chronic diseases (body failings) start occurring. Therefore the deficiency of Omega-3 is only defined by its relationship to Omega-6. Nutritional studies that analyze changes in the balance of essential fatty acids show that when the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 drops well below 4:1, emotional and cognitive brain functions improve dramatically.
People are influenced by tradition. Unfortunately traditions and habits can keep us from altering course even when our very survival demands that we change. There are many traditions and diet is a big one. When it comes to diet most Americans are hopelessly snared with traditional foods that are literally causing chronic diseases. Are you snared too? How about your children?
Today’s most popular foods are grains, legumes, nuts, food products concocted with these ingredients, and the many different grain-fed livestock products (meats, dairy, eggs, etc.). This is in spite of the fact that decades ago nutritional scientists proved these traditional modern-day foods undermine proper brain function and cause body failures (chronic diseases). Does this not make our traditional foods the worst we could feed to Autistic children? It does, yet the beat goes on for not just Autistic children but all children.
Some parents try to “eat healthy” by substituting various “bad foods” with supposedly healthy food products that replicate traditional textures and flavors. Unfortunately, too often these replications are worse than the foods they are replacing! “Gluten free” foods are a prime example. Gluten free foods are made with grains, nuts, and tubers (or derivatives of grains, nuts, and tubers). In all cases they are deficient in the overall spectrum of nutrients required to support animal life. Many have highly skewed fatty acid profiles, i.e. they are low in Omega-3. In nearly all cases they are extremely high glycemic foods. This makes gluten free foods one of man’s worst mind-numbing “culinary” concoctions and underscores how some interpretations of nutritional science can mislead consumers.
This article will not be graciously accepted by all. This I know in advance. I've communicated with many parents with Autistic children and, sadly to say, to this very day I have not been able to identify even one set of parents that aggressively changed their child's diet, much less their own.
Oh for sure they talk about it, and for sure they've changed some aspects of their diet, but in fact they either ignore the diet entirely or their changes do not go nearly far enough. When I press these concerned parents to change completely, it usually results in apathy, denial, and/or anger.
The food one eats has a tremendous impact their brain's ability to function. As you will find out in this essay, there are many essential nutrients your brain requires that your body can only obtain from the food you eat. Essential nutrients are nutrients your body will not make. Therefore, if you do not eat correctly, your brain will misfire. How brains misfire varies from person to person. In this essay you'll learn how our nation's concocted food system is the cause for what many call an "epidemic" of mental illness. Of course, they would never say that if they knew what you are about to learn here. And what you are about to learn is that if you eat "real food" your brain's function will improve significantly. Welcome to the world of REAL FOOD! . . . Ted Slanker
Brain Function is Unequivocally Food Dependent
Mental illness contributes a substantial burden of disease worldwide. Globally, approximately 450 million persons suffer from mental disorders, and one fourth of the world’s population will develop a mental or behavioral disorder at some point during their lives. Mental disorders account for approximately 25% of disability in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe and are a leading cause of premature death. In the United States, approximately 22% of the U.S. adult population has one or more diagnosable mental disorders in a given year. The estimated lifetime prevalences for mental disorders among the U.S. adult population are approximately 29% for anxiety disorders, 25% for impulse-control disorders, 21% for mood disorders, 15% for substance-use disorders, and 46% for any of these disorders. In addition, an estimated one in 10 children in the United States has a mental disorder that causes some level of impairment. The effects of mental illness are evident across the life span, among all ethnic, racial, and cultural groups, and among persons of every socioeconomic level. Moreover, mental illness costs the United States an estimated $150 billion annually, excluding the costs of research.