Monday, July 12, 2010

Could Treating Mental Illness Be That Simple?

I read an interesting article in Eating Well magazine that talked about the balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in brain as a possible key to treating such mental illnesses as bi- polar disorder, ADHD, and depresssion.

Dr. Joe Hibbeln has done the research, and based on that, it's his belief that our American diet has left us low in omega 3 levels, and very high in levels of omega 6. Balance that out by adjusting what we eat, and you have a bunch of basically happy campers!

He says our ancestors had a balance between the two omegas, because they ate differently. Today, he says Americans have 10 to 25 times more omega 6s than 3s. Not a good thing.

Where do we get omega 6s? Processed foods are packed with omega 6 oils made from soybeans, safflower and corn. Omega 3 oils are found in fish, like salmon and sardines, and also in wild game meat. Flaxseed is also a source of omega 3s.

When you look at what most people haul out in their grocery carts, or order off of restaurant or fast food menus, and compare it what we know about the rate of depression alone in this country, it makes sense.

Dr. Sandra Cabot has been documenting outcomes of those who follow her liver cleansing diet, and reports not only does people's health improve, but those with addictive behaviors and mood disorders also do better. (She wrote the book, The Liver Cleansing Diet.)

The diet basically consists of fresh, natural foods and herbs,(no dairy or red meat), and lots of water. But there's another element. A blend of ground almonds, flax seed and sunflower seed is always on the table as a condiment for virtually everything. So not only is your body detoxifying itself with all the fresh foods, it's constantly getting hits of omega 3s.

I put it on cereal, salads, in yogurts, and over pasta. You can even sprinkle it over ice cream!

Is this a "sure fire" fix? Nothing is "sure fire" because much depends on your willingness to participate in your own healing.

But this much is certain. Our bodies are incredibly complex, miraculous creations, capable of amazing feats and performance ~ and healing ~ provided it gets the nutrients it needs. Our food, in its purest state, is the source of that.

Is it easy to eat well?

With some thought and planning, yes.

Is it convenient?

No. It's a daily practice, but the investment of putting your focus there is definitely worth it!

Do you have to be a good cook?

No. It's your own journey.

You'll get there!


Sheri said...

That sounds like a very interesting article...and it makes sense.

I recently found out that I can eat almonds (after being allergic for most of my life). I love them...not only how they taste, but also for their nutritional aspects.

Thanks for sharing this with us!

Rosemary said...

I've often wondered about the link between poor eating & depression. Am convinced that eating well and walking daily can improve it. I love nuts but hate salmon, so I mix them together with potato and make salmon cakes. Great blog. Rosemary