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Why Does Food Matter For Mental Health? Discover The Relationship Between Nutrition And Mood

In a previous video I talk about the Mediterranean diet and how it has been shown in studies to improve depression. In this video I discuss why healthy food helps your brain. It has to do with oxidative stress.

There’s different types of stress. Mental Stress comes from external pressures like deadlines, expectations, demands. You can also be stressed physically from things like infections or surgery. These processes weaken your body’s defenses. But there is another type of stress that occurs at a cellular level, and it’s called oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress occurs when you get free radical formation that causes tissue damage. Think of it as your body’s rusting process. You see this on a macro level when the paint on your car starts to fade over time from exposure to the oxygen in the air.

Well a similar thing happens in your body at a cellular level. We see the effects of oxidation with aging, cancer, heart disease and many other diseases. It’s also been linked to psychiatric illnesses like autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia. Oxidative stress affects all of the cells in your body, but the brain is particularly sensitive to oxidative stress.

Your body organs are made up a trillions of cells. Inside each cell you have the cell components called organelles. The mitochondria is one of these organelles that generates energy.The mitochondria take nutrients from the food we eat and convert it to energy. This chemical reaction uses oxygen and produces free radicals as a byproduct. Think of it as a manufacturing plant putting out harsh chemicals into the atmosphere.

Inside the mitochondria, these free radicals damage the DNA, and proteins that are inside of the cell. Certain nutrients neutralize the free radicals and these are called antioxidants. So if the food you eat contains enough antioxidants, then the mitochondria factory doesn’t produces as much toxic waste.

Here are some of antioxidants that are extracted from the food.
Vitamin A which you can get from Dairy, eggs, and liver
Vitamin C which comes from most fruits and vegetables, especially berries, oranges, and bell peppers
Vitamin E which you can get from nuts and seeds, and green, leafy vegetables
Beta-carotene: you get this with Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, like carrots, peas, spinach, and mangoes
Lycopene which comes from Pink and red fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes and watermelon
Lutein and selenium. Selenium comes from rice, corn and grains as well as nuts eggs, cheese and legumes

There is debate as to whether or not vitamin supplements really make in impact on changing the course of disease. This may have something to do with bioavailability. The supplement form may not be processed the same by the mitochondria as it is when it comes from food. Also high doses of some supplements like vitamin E and betacatorene are linked to increased risk of tumor growth.

There are external factors that increase free radical production inside the mitochondria. These are things like pollution, UV exposure, and cigarette smoke. Another thing you can do to reduce oxidative stress is reduce your exposure to UV light by wearing clothes that protect your skin and sun block. You should also minimizing your exposure to cigarette smoke. Inflammation is an internal source of free radical production. Your diet choices also effect inflammation. Things like fried foods, high sugar and processed food increase inflammation.

Links from the video
Video on the Depression Diet https://youtu.be/Y1HI1aZ58RY
Handout on How to Eat Your Veggies http://markspsychiatry.com/stress-brain

References
Smaga I. et al. Oxidative stress as an etiological factor and a potential treatment target of psychiatric disorders. Part 2. Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and autism. Pharmacol Rep. 2015 Jun; 67(3):569-80. Epub 2015 Jan 5.

Zhang XY, Yao JK.Oxidative stress and therapeutic implications in psychiatric disorders. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Oct 1; 46:197-9. Epub 2013 Mar 21.

Joseph N, Zhang-James Y, Perl A, Faraone SV. Oxidative Stress and ADHD: A Meta-Analysis. J Atten Disord. 2015;19(11):915–924.

Want to know more about mental health and self-improvement? On this channel I discuss topics such as bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), relationships and personal development/self-improvement. I upload weekly. If you don’t want to miss a video, click here to subscribe. https://goo.gl/DFfT33

Disclaimer: All of the information on this channel is for educational purposes and not intended to be specific/personal medical advice from me to you. Watching the videos or getting answers to comments/question, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, perhaps these videos can help prepare you for your discussion with your doctor.

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