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February 04, 2021
According to a case study published in the Missouri Medicine, a 43-year-old married man was presented with irritability and a low mood for two months. He was first diagnosed for attention deficit disorder two years ago, and was taking Vyvanse 70 mg. While his focus and work function had improved, he continued to experience irritability, fatigue, low appetite, and difficulty sleeping.
It is important to note that his history and medical workup revealed no active medical issues, no substance use, and blood work reveals no abnormalities.
Ultimately the physicians derived the conclusion that one’s food choice is linked to the risk of developing mental health problems. Like in the above case, a food history is a vital piece of data, both in assessing low appetite as a possible medication side effect, or as a symptom of depression.
In addition, a food history has a crucial role in determining whether targeted dietary recommendations could be effective in recovering from mental health problems.
Eat Well Feel Well
Researchers suggest that it is important to encourage patients to eat a diet that is optimal for brain health in order to promote optimum mental health and ensure speedy recovery from mental illness.
“Specifically, this diet would include adequate building blocks for monoamine neurotransmitters, be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, be anti-inflammatory, foster BDNF production, and support a healthy microbiome. While this might seem to be very ambitious goal, many traditional diets are based on nutrient dense whole foods and contain all of these nutrients. The Mediterranean diet is an accessible template, but it is only one example,” researchers recommend.
In Robert’s case, he was provided with educational help related to the importance of adequate nutrition to help her enjoy great mental health. He was also introduced to nuts as snacks, instead of crackers and low-fat granola bars, and has started to pack a fruit or vegetable to eat with his lunch. Within a few weeks, he admitted that despite not feeling hungry he felt subjectively better ten minutes or so after having breakfast when he woke up. His irritability also improved.
After six weeks of treatment with medication and recommended food intervention, Robert experienced a significant improvement in depressive symptoms. He was better at “mealtimes and enjoying spending time with his children more, and is having less conflict with his wife. He is feeling positive about the direction his life is heading, and plans to continue to pay attention to his food choices”.
The bottom line is let food be thy medicine: eat a diet that is rich in brain food including fish, seafood, beans & legumes, leafy greens and other vegetables, olive oil (monounsaturated fat), yogurt, and nuts.