Depressed? Can’t Sleep? Having Memory Problems? It Could be From What You Eat!
The average diet in the 1950’s was not made up of processed or fast food. Home cooking was still the norm. The work day was from 9am to 5pm, and families actually sat down together to eat dinner. Nowadays, most families are double income. Work days are longer, with some people working up to 14 hours a day. There are many more types of after school activities. All of this leaves less time to shop for and prepare fresh, wholesome meals. And with today’s schedules, it can be challenging for families to sit down as a family for a meal.
Instead, they might go over to the local grocery story, restaurant or fast food place and get a take out. The typical American diet is high in processed foods. Processed foods often contain additives, preservatives, and other chemical ingredients and are high in trans-fats. Food manufacturers have discovered that certain foods are as addictive as cocaine. Even the ads let you know this. “You can’t just eat one potato chip.” Most people are not going to eat a bushel of apples, yet they could easily eat an entire bag of chips or cookies.
How Food Affects Your Brain
The brain needs healthy nutrition for optimal function. The foods we eat directly affect brain structure and function, and ultimately, our mood. Eating quality food that contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress.
Your brain can be adversely affected by processed or refined foods. There are many studies that show a correlation between diets high in trans-fats and refined sugars and impaired brain function, and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
Our brains rely on natural fats to create and maintain their cell membranes. Trans fats impede this process, and even worse, they can actually destroy cells. Foods containing refined sugar and trans fats can increase inflammation in the brain and heart and can contribute to the incidence of diabetes, obesity, and more. This inflammation may also inhibit the body’s production of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical to proper brain function.
Omega-3’s enhance the production of neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin (which regulate moods), and in addition boost learning and memory. Several studies have shown that high levels of trans fats may reduce serotonin production in the brain, leading to depression as well as adversely affecting memory. Therefore, it is important to follow a diet high in Omega 3, including foods such as wild Sockeye Salmon, sardines, chia seeds, flax seeds, cherries, broccoli, and avocado, while eliminating cane sugar, artificial sweetener, and corn syrup.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. — Hippocrates, father of medicine.
While it has taken many years for the medical field to fully acknowledge the connection between mood and food, Hippocrates may have realized this in 431 B.C. I realized the important connection in the early 1990’s when I went on a six month elimination diet to address food allergies. I found out I was allergic to some foods including carrots, summer squash, broccoli and cauliflower. After my brain injury and brain surgery in 1990, I realized that when I ate certain foods, I experienced brain fog, had problems concentrating, or felt more depressed. I also found that certain foods kept me awake.
I was told back then that I was permanently brain damaged and I was never going to regain my life again. So, I thought I had lots of time to experiment with various foods and see how they affected my moods, sleep and my memory. From my experiments I developed my Brain Health Diet.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Since I have allergies to all antibiotics, which is the treatment for Lyme, I searched to figure out what could help me. One day I was discussing this with my close friend, Dr. Martha Lindsay and she said, “I can help”. Martha Lindsay, MS, CNE, is a Nutrition Educator, certified in Nutrition Response Testing ℠ and GAPS. Martha has changed my life and my understanding about food and nutrition. She has helped me with many of my medical problems and symptoms, including memory issues from my multiple brain injuries (concussion), an ulcer caused by h-pyloric bacteria and my recent diagnosis of cancer, specifically Lymphoma.
In 2007, I asked Martha to join my team of brain health experts. As I knew she could help many of my patients and clients also regain their loves. Now I would like to introduce to you my friend, colleague and brain health expert in nutrition-education.
Martha earned her Master’s degree in Microbiology and Public Health from Michigan State University. She has also completed Advanced Clinical Certification in Nutrition Response Testing℠. In addition, she is a Certified Whole Health Nutrition Educator (National Institute of Whole Health) and a Certified GAPS practitioner. Foods in the United States contain fewer essential vitamins and minerals than 30 years ago. Food companies manufacture and promote products which are completely devoid of valuable nutrients. These products are heavily advertised through television, magazines, radio and on line ads. The general population is fooled into thinking that these commercially-produced foods are nutritious. This could not be farther from the truth.
Our drinking water contains heavy metals and chemicals. And some of these toxins are purposely added to our drinking water under the guise of being good for our health. The additives in our food and water supply can wreak havoc on our bodies and brains. These additives break down the gastrointestinal tract lining and the protective outer brain barrier allowing these toxins to get into the bloodstream and enter the brain, causing inflammation and damage.
Fortunately today there is a wealth of evidence to support the correlation between not only what you eat, how you feel, and how you ultimately behave, but also the kinds of bacteria that live in your gut.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works to regulate sleep, mood and appetite, and inhibit pain. About 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract which is lined with millions of nerve cells, or neurons. Your digestive system doesn’t just function to help digest food, but also regulate emotions. Serotonin production is dependent on the “good” bacteria that make up your intestinal microbiome. The billions of ‘good” bacteria helps protect the lining of your intestines and act as a barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria.
Improving your diet and the balance between good and bad bacteria is essential to your well-being.
My practice revolves around utilizing nutrition to feed compromised brain tissues, to remove toxins which may have reached the brain, to stabilize hormonal influences on the brain and to calm down inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and in the brain so that healing can occur.
We use a technique called Nutrition Response Testing to evaluate the brain. This technique allows us to find out what issues are going on which could prevent brain healing, and find nutrition products which will allow the brain to resolve the issues.
How did I meet Dr. Diane?
I met Dr. Diane through mutual medical interests some 35 years ago and after Dr. Diane had experienced her own brain injuries. Through the benefits of Nutrition Response Testing she was able to improve her brain and overall health.
Like Dr. Diane, people who have experienced brain injury are too often told by conventionally-trained practitioners that there is no further help available. This is definitely not acceptable and is assuredly not true. There are many factors involved in healing brain tissue, and many alternative treatment methods can help improve brain function. Many of these treatment methods are offered in Dr. Diane’s Integrative practice.
If there are toxic or inflammatory conditions in the brain, and if these already-compromised brain tissues are then injured with a trauma, healing will be much slower or improve to a point and then not improve further. We work to find these underlying conditions and help the brain clear these conditions, so there are no impediments to healing. The integrative team approach is tremendously valuable. In addition, Dr. Diane uses a 5-Prong Approach to treatment, which essentially looks at the individual as a whole, thus treating the whole body. I may help the client rid toxins and improve symptoms utilizing beneficial nutrients, while Dr. Diane and other team members employ the treatment methods they specialize in, addressing the client’s individual needs/symptoms. These treatment methods could include Neurofeedback, Reiki, Massage, Acupuncture, Water therapy, and more. The treatment methods depend on the specific needs and unique symptoms of each client.
We specialize in non-pharmaceutical methods for improving sleep, memory, mood, and cognitive function. We identify which foods you should eliminate from your diet and which beneficial foods and supplements you should include to feel better. Changing your diet can improve cognitive function, and reduce symptoms from anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, Stroke, or Concussion and more.
The right diet can improve mental clarity, fight fatigue, boost your memory, and reduce inflammation.
Contact us to learn about proper nutrition for your neurons and which foods contain vitamins and minerals for optimal brain health.
There is Help and Hope. There is a Way! ®