D is for Diet
|Author: null null||Published: 1st July 2012 20:20|
In 2002, the mental health charity Mind ran a Food for Mood Project to explore the effects of diet on mental health. A survey of 200 people found that around a quarter of those taking part reported improvements in mood swings, panic attacks and anxiety and depression.
The project distinguished between food ‘stressors' such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate, and food ‘supporters' which included water, vegetables, fruit and oil-rich fish. Cutting down on ‘stressors' and increasing ‘supporters' resulted in the beneficial effects. Regular eating habits were also identified as a significant factor in influencing mood.
For more information about diet and mental health, including a couple of podcasts and a ‘food and mood' diary, go to:
For another, and rather different approach to diet and our mental wellbeing, the ancient science of Ayurveda includes some fascinating insights into how different foods affect our body and mind.
Originating around 5,000 years ago in India, Ayurveda is about the art of healing and living a healthy life. As well as the use of diet and herbs, Ayurveda uses yoga, massages, exercises, meditation and astrology in a comprehensive, holistic way to treat illness.
Three basic body or energy types (Doshas) are identified - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - with each type very much affected either positively or negatively by different foods. In recent years Ayurvedic ideas have been popularised in the West by writers such as Deepak Chopra, M.D., making the case that by examining our own body type we can establish health and emotional balance through following the appropriate Ayurvedic diet.
If you're interested in finding out about your dosha and what kinds of food suit each body type, here are a couple of websites to have a look at: