UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated that 60% of Nestlé's products are unhealthy, per other reports. However, according to a report from Kepler Cox, the number is actually closer to 28% once items like pet care, beverages, and coffee are excluded.
It's no secret that candy and chocolate aren't superfoods, but the companies that make them have never really acknowledged their weak nutritional value… that is, until now.
Nestlé—the world's largest food company that owns brands like Gerber, Cheerios, San Pellegrino, Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, Carnation, Nesquik, Häagen-Dazs, and more—recently admitted in its own internal documents that over 28% of the food and drinks it produces are unhealthy.
"We have made significant improvements to our products . . . [but] our portfolio still underperforms against external definitions of health in a landscape where regulatory pressure and consumer demands are skyrocketing," the presentation said, according to The Financial Times, which saw the Nestlé report firsthand.
The presentation says that only 37% of Nestlé's products score above the "recognized definition of health" of 3.5 on Australia's 5-star health rating system. Several products also received an "E" score (which is the worst score that can be given) on another rating system called Nutri-Score.
For example, both San Pellegrino's canned orange soda and Nestlé Strawberry Nesquik have large amounts of sugar… which don't qualify as healthy options.
In response to the leaked info, Nestlé says it has reduced the sugars and sodium in its products by about 14-15% in the past seven years, but will continue to work to make them all healthier, Reuters reports.
In the past, Nestlé has dismissed the idea that the "processed" foods it produces are unhealthy. So, this new admission from the company is a rare about-face for the large food manufacturer.
For tips on how to reduce the number of unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar in your diet, here are some tricks that can help:
Although B vitamins are found in many foods, there are a few groups of people who could benefit from taking additional vitamin B supplements. This includes older adults, those who have celiac disease, and even those who follow a vegan diet.
There are eight different kinds of B vitamins:
If you suspect that you're deficient in one of the B vitamins, it's likely that you've experienced a few unfavorable symptoms. This is why taking vitamin B supplements can help with any deficiencies you may experience. Below, we outline four positive effects you could experience from taking a B-complex supplement or one a stand-alone B vitamin (such as a B12 supplement). After, be sure to read up on The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now.
1 It may reduce tingling in hands or feet.
There are a few reasons why you may be experiencing tingling in either your hands, feet, or both. For example, when you experience tingling or numbness, it could be a sign that you have prediabetes, which occurs when the body has higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels but not high enough to diagnosed with diabetes. More specifically, this sensation is a big indicator of pre-diabetic neuropathy and if left untreated, it could result in a type of nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy.
However, a less severe cause for tingling or numbness in the hands or feet may be a vitamin B12 deficiency. Inadequate consumption of B-12 (found primarily in meat and animal byproduct) is known to cause a "pins and needles" sensation in both the hands and feet. This is because vitamin B-12 helps to produce a substance called myelin, which acts as a protective coating for nerves and enables them to transmit sensations. Without this shield, nerves can become damaged.
But before you start taking vitamin B12 supplements, be sure to talk with your physician.
2 It may treat mouth ulcers.
Another symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency? Mouth sores or ulcers. These can pop up on your tongue, gums, or on the inside of your mouth. This can also be indicative of a deficiency in folate (vitamin B9). While mouth ulcers usually don't need treatment, they can be quite painful—especially if you eat acidic fruits such as oranges, lemon, and grapefruit or something spicy. One way to decrease the pain and accelerate the healing process is to take vitamin B6 and B12 supplements.
3 Reduces the risk of birth defects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), folic acid (vitamin B9) can help reduce birth defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly. A baby is diagnosed with spina bifida when its spine doesn't develop correctly, which can ultimately lead to severe physical disabilities. Anencephaly is equally as serious, as it's a condition in which the baby's brain and skull do not form correctly. To prevent these serious birth defects, the CDC recommends that pregnant women take a vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.
4 Your energy levels may increase.
Did you know a vitamin B deficiency could be the reason you constantly feel fatigued? As Cedrina Calder, MD, MSPH, and member of our medical review board informed us before, vitamin B12 deficiency lowers red blood cell count which could result in extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate. Eating more meat, fish poultry, and eggs could solve this issue. However, a vitamin B12 supplement may be the most effective route, especially if you follow a plant-based diet.
One of the most tired nutrition recommendations is the call to eliminate or limit processed foods for improved health. Oftentimes, I’m left questioning how helpful this recommendation is and have seen how it can actually create confusion and fear for people trying to eat healthier. Do I have to cut out all processed foods? What does moderation mean? Are certain processed foods better than others? Many questions come up for people when trying to interpret this recommendation, which can lead to increased stress and anxiety around food.
I’m here to tell you that eating processed food is not detrimental to your health, and many processed foods are actually high in nutritional value. There’s a lot of ambiguity around what “processed food” means so let’s start with clearing that up. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, processed food includes any food that’s been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways. This means that any time you cook, you are processing food! Oftentimes, processing food helps to make that food more digestible and palatable.
You may be thinking, well what about those foods that have a long list of ingredients and are packed with sugar, salt and fats? Well, those are also processed foods and there are foods that are more processed than others. For example, chopped vegetables, salted nuts, frozen peas, and canned beans are examples of foods that have been processed less than cookies, deli turkey, salad dressing and frozen macaroni and cheese. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should eliminate foods that go through more involved processing. Many of these foods provide valuable nutrients and also taste really good.
Processed foods can also be incredibly helpful if you have limited access to fresh foods in your neighborhood, live in regions where a variety of fresh produce doesn’t grow during cold seasons or if you simply want to save time in the kitchen! Think about how convenient it is to whip out a can of beans or blend up some frozen fruit with yogurt. Processing foods also helps with adding important nutrients into foods that we may be lacking. For example, milks and yogurt may have added calcium, vitamin D and probiotics, cereals may have added fiber, and salt may have added iodine.
If you’re concerned about the nutritional value of foods that are more heavily processed, there are ways to make informed choices when you’re at the supermarket. You can look at ingredient and nutrition labels to get an idea of what’s in the food and what nutritional value it provides. For example, if you have high blood pressure, sodium is something you may be looking out for when shopping for food. Just keep in mind that moralizing processed foods as “good” or “bad” can create unhealthy fear and stress around food. You get to decide what healthy eating looks like for you, and that may mean eating these more processed foods alongside other less processed foods or not eating these more processed foods as often. Food and nutrition looks different for everyone and there’s many factors to consider when deciding what to eat.
A new study published August 3 in the journal Public Health Nutrition reveals some surprising new details about the Coca-Cola Company and its influence on research regarding public health in the U.S. back in 2015 and 2016. According to the analysis, scientists at West Virginia University and University of Colorado, who were leading an allegedly independent research institution by the name of Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), were actually funded by Coca-Cola. At the time, GEBN's research found that obesity in America was tied to a lack of exercise, effectively diminishing the role that sweetened beverages play in contributing to the country's obesity problem.
As the study explains, "In 2015, the New York Times revealed that Coca-Cola funded a global network of scientists, the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), ostensibly to divert attention from the contribution of sugar-sweetened beverages to [the] obesity epidemic, instead blaming inadequate exercise. A year later, a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was found to have communicated with a former Coca-Cola executive, strategizing how to convince the WHO to collaborate with the food industry to promote the same message."
Based on these allegations, a non-profit consumer and public health group called the U.S. Right to Know requested to obtain over 18,000 pages of emails between Coca-Cola and the GEBN sent between 2015-2016. This latest study analyzed these emails in order to come up with their most recent findings.
Here's what they concluded:
"Our analysis reveals a series of strategies, practices and mechanisms employed by Coca-Cola to influence the academic community and general public to promote its interests… These practices included an attempt to divert attention from The Coca-Cola Company's role as a funding source in research; diversifying funding partners; and, in some cases, downplaying the amount of funds it donated. Second, there was evidence of a 'coalition-building' strategy, through which Coca-Cola supported a network of academics that could promote messages associated with its public relations strategy and sought to support those academics in advancing their careers and building their affiliated public health and medical institutions."
In other words, this latest study indicates that Coca-Cola was funding research that would suggest sugar-sweetened beverages were not responsible for America's obesity problem. And, that the company was trying to influence public health professionals to say the same. (Related: Coca-Cola Will Stop Selling This Beloved Beverage for Good.)
However, as we all know, extensive evidence has shown that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages does contribute to weight gain, as well as a slew of other health complications, including diabetes, tooth decay, and potentially cancer.
"This is a story about how Coke used public health academics to carry out classic tobacco tactics to protect its profits," said Gary Ruskin, executive director of U.S. Right to Know, in a press release about the new study. "It's a low point in the history of public health, and a warning about the perils of accepting corporate funding for public health work."
Let's face it: Peanut butter is delicious. And it's incredibly versatile — it's just as tasty smeared on banana slices as it is spooned on top of warm oatmeal or slathered on a piece of toast. But is it good for you?
Yes, but it depends on how much you eat and what type you buy. Some peanut butters, especially the low-fat ones, are full of filler ingredients such as added sugar. The best-for-you peanut butter is a natural nut butter with minimal ingredients —ideally, just peanuts with salt and/or oil.
Peanut butter is full of good-for-you fats. So even though a 2-tablespoon serving of the nut butter contains 191 calories and 16 grams of fat, 8 grams are monounsaturated fats and 4 grams are polyunsaturated fats, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Both of these types of fats have been found to help keep cholesterol levels in check, particularly those of "bad" LDL cholesterol.
You also get nutrients that will help to keep you fuller for longer, which may lead to less snacking throughout the day. In 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, you get 7 grams of protein, as well as almost 2 grams of fiber.
Peanut butter also supplies plenty of vitamins and minerals. It's an excellent source of the B vitamin niacin and a good source of vitamin E, as well as the mineral magnesium.
Here's a bonus: Peanut butter may help you manage your weight. In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition in October 2018, people who regularly ate nuts — including peanuts — had a 5% lower risk of becoming overweight than people who did not regularly eat nuts.
As for portion size, stick with no more than a tablespoon or two per serving. Even though peanut butter is full of healthy fats, you should still try to keep your total fat intake at no more than 25% to 30% of your daily calorie consumption. So if you were eating a 2,000-calorie daily diet, you would aim for no more than 56 to 67 grams of fat for the day.
Now go enjoy a spoonful of peanut butter or two!
What foods you eat together may be associated with your risk of dementia, according to a new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. While it is no surprise that a healthy diet may benefit the brain, this study shows the surprising way that the combination of foods may also impact brain function.
Researchers from the University of Bordeaux in France looked at “food networks” and found that those whose diets consisted of starches, highly-processed meats, and sugary snacks were more likely to have dementia years later compared to those who ate a wider variety of healthy foods.
“There is a complex inter-connectedness of foods in a person’s diet, and it is important to understand how these different connections, or food networks, may affect the brain because diet could be a promising way to prevent dementia,” said study author Cécilia Samieri, Ph.D. “Several studies have shown that eating a healthier diet, for example, a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts, whole grains and fish, may lower a person’s risk of dementia. Many of those studies focused on quantity and frequency of foods. Our study went one step further to look at food networks and found important differences in the ways in which food items were co-consumed in people who went on to develop dementia and those who did not.”
The study analyzed information from 209 people with an average age of 78 who had dementia and 418 people who did not have dementia. Both groups were matched for age, sex, and educational level.
Participants were required to complete a food questionnaire for five years outlining the types of foods they consumed and how frequently they consumed them. All participants had medical checkups every two to three years.
After analyzing all data provided from participants, researchers found that while there were few differences in the number of individual foods that people ate, overall food groups or networks differed substantially between people who had dementia and those who did not have dementia.
“Processed meats were a ‘hub’ in the food networks of people with dementia,” said Samieri. “People who developed dementia were more likely to combine highly processed meats such as sausages, cured meats, and patés with starchy foods like potatoes, alcohol, and snacks like cookies and cakes. This may suggest that frequency with which processed meat is combined with other unhealthy foods, rather than average quantity, may be important for dementia risk. For example, people with dementia were more likely, when they ate processed meat, to accompany it with potatoes and people without dementia were more likely to accompany meat with more diverse foods, including fruit and vegetables and seafood.”
Researchers concluded that those who did not have dementia were more likely to have more diversity in their diet. This was demonstrated by many small food networks that usually included healthier foods such as fruit and vegetables.
“We found that more diversity in diet, and greater inclusion of a variety of healthy foods, is related to less dementia,” said Samieri. “In fact, we found differences in food networks that could be seen years before people with dementia were diagnosed. Our findings suggest that studying diet by looking at food networks may help untangle the complexity of diet and biology in health and disease.”
Researchers hope these findings will help physicians better understand the development of dementia and help them explain the importance of early lifestyle changes to their patients. A healthy diet and getting plenty of exercises are key components to reducing the risk of dementia and many other health issues and diseases.
Stress eating is something that many people struggle with on a regular basis, when things are "normal." But with the coronavirus pandemic challenging us in different ways each day, it seems to have become an equal opportunity problem, affecting even those who don't typically eat in response to anxiety or other emotions.
"I think I need to be socially distanced from my refrigerator," said Lisa C., who preferred not to reveal her last name, a now working-from-home legal executive who added that "going down the stairs for food and back up again is my only exercise these days.
Lisa C. is not the only one who has shared her stress-eating sentiments with me.
"I think I've snacked all day long for the last 10 days," said Liliana Fazendeiro, who has been at home with her 2-and-half-year old son since his daycare closed.
"While being homebound during these last two weeks I've noticed I've been self-soothing by grabbing a little sweet here and there and having a second helping of dinner," said Natalie Santos Ferguson of Baltimore, Maryland.
"Plus, all the homebound extra baking we're doing is not helping. As a mother, I don't want to let my children see how worried I have actually been, so rather than letting my emotions out, I'm grabbing the nearest treat to make myself feel good," Ferguson added.
While many often eat in response to stressful situations, others lose their appetite during such life events. But for those who typically engage in stress eating, being stuck at home makes the challenge of avoiding indulgences all the more difficult.
"For people who were stress eaters but may have been in the office all day doing stressful work, it may have been a relief to come home and eat a lot of food that may not be healthy for them. But now they have access to that [food] all day long," said registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of "Read It Before You Eat It - Taking You from Label to Table."
How to manage stress eating
Whether it's your first time struggling with stress eating, or it's gotten increasingly more frequent, we want you to know that there are ways to manage it. And here's some more good news: It doesn't necessarily require cutting out your favorite treats.
Here are some tips for managing stress-eating:
Control triggers. First and foremost, if you find yourself eating in response to stress, it's a good idea to become acutely aware of what heightens your stress and them come up with a plan, advised Martha McKittrick RD, a registered dietitian in New York City.
Whether it's watching the news or talking with a friend or family member who irritates you, it's important to find a way to help minimize triggers. "Maybe it's watching less of the news or tell your friend you only have five minutes to talk," McKittrick advised.
If you're not sure what your triggers are, a food journal can help to reveal your stress eating patterns, explained Carolyn O'Neil, a registered dietitian and author of "The Slim Down South Cookbook." "Include what you're eating, when, how much, where you sat or stood and with whom," O'Neil said.
Don't deny yourself your favorite comfort foods. Now is not the time to give up your favorite indulgences. Food is more than nutrition -- it's joy, too. Expecting yourself to give up perhaps what is one of the few pleasures you can relish now is simply unrealistic and unnecessary.
"Whether it's cheese or chocolate or chips or Chardonnay, do not banish your favorite treats from the kitchen kingdom," O'Neil said.
"No one should be beating themselves up over making choices they wouldn't otherwise make; nor is this the time for a strict fad diet," Taub-Dix added.
That being said, it is important to establish a healthy relationship with your favorite foods so you feel in control and avoid a vicious cycle of stress eating and weight gain. That includes savoring your favorite foods in sensible portions, O'Neil explained.
Pre-portion snacks. One of the best ways to enjoy your favorite treats while avoiding out-of-control eating is to pre-portion snacks.
Taub-Dix advises putting snacks like pretzels and chips into zippered bags ahead of time, which allows you to naturally avoid eating out of super-sized bags or containers.
You can also purchase single-sized pre-portioned snack bags of cheddar bunnies, graham crackers, cookies, goldfish and other snacks.
Edit your kitchen. This can be especially helpful if you find yourself working in your kitchen with food surrounding you all day long. Clear your counters of tempting visual cues like cookies, sweets and soft drinks and place a fruit bowl out instead.
It's also a good idea to keep trigger foods on high shelves, or hidden behind other foods, so they won't be the first thing you grab. The opposite logic applies for healthy foods.
"Try to keep things in your refrigerator that are better for you at eye level -- like fresh fruits and vegetables," said Taub-Dix. You can also make healthy foods more easily accessible by washing veggies and cutting up fruit ahead of time "so you can just grab it and eat it," Taub-Dix added.
Ask yourself if you're truly hungry. If you find yourself craving carbs near your pantry but then you realize "I had lunch an hour ago!" -- it's probably wise to leave the kitchen, Taub-Dix explained.
Feeling a desire for food despite a lack of true hunger could also mean you are anxious or bored. Instead of reaching for stress-soothing treats, you might go for a walk, call a friend, take a bath, listen to music, watch a movie or simply brush your teeth.
Take a tea break. Sipping beverages like tea can be a great way to let a stress-induced craving pass.
"Drinking herbal tea with a little honey provides a speed bump; it makes you think for a minute about having a snack or meal that may be unnecessary," Taub-Dix said.
A spoon of hot cocoa in a cup of coffee can also do the trick. Taub-Dix does this often. "It gets me back to my work -- so when I'm ready for my meal, I'm really ready for it instead of eating it when I didn't really need to eat."
Go for "busy" snacks. Food that keeps your hands busy can be helpful during stressful times, Taub-Dix explained. She recommends snacking on air-popped popcorn; dipping apple slices into yogurt or adding your favorite seasonings and spices to Greek yogurt; then dipping with veggies.
"These foods keep you busy, but they don't add a lot of calories to your diet," Taub-Dix said.
Try healthier swaps. If a certain craving drives your stress eating, such as "I've gotta have a calorie-laden cinnamon roll," consider healthier substitutes to calm the craving, like a cinnamon pecan breakfast cereal or adding cinnamon and a little brown sugar to your morning oatmeal, O'Neil explained.
Additionally, if you must have something that's crunchy to calm your nerves, before you dive into the tortilla chips, try crunching on carrot slices or celery sticks or cucumber dipped into in salsa or queso," O'Neil advised.
If you are working from home, take breaks during the day. Give yourself breaks to have a snack and to eat a meal, so you're not working non-stop, Taub-Dix advised. This can also help you avoid mindless nibbling during stressful work.
Taking a break to get some physical activity like taking a walk or doing some yoga or stretching can also be refreshing and an opportunity to clear your mind and relax for a few minutes.
Schedule virtual mealtimes with friends. This is particularly helpful if you are alone and struggling with stress eating. Set times to dine with someone on FaceTime or Zoom so you can share a conversation in addition to a meal, Taub-Dix advised.
Take a deep breath. When you feel stress hitting you, you may find that your pulse quickens, or you may feel a tightness in your chest and walk into the kitchen on autopilot.
"Tell yourself you need to take a five minute break, then you can still eat if you need to," McKittrick advised. Find a place to sit quietly and practice deep breathing.
"You can do a 10 minute meditation app, but oftentimes just the act of slowing down and deep breathing can take your mind off the urge to eat," McKittrick added.
Indulgent snacks can be healthy, too
Here are some nutritionist-recommended indulgences:
These last four recipes are my nutritionist-approved recommendations and can be found online; two are even created by dietitians.
I don’t think it’s any secret that our current food system is, well, broken. It’s not okay—or even logical—that a hamburger costs less than a salad. It’s not okay that 70 percent of the world’s human use of water goes to animal production—not, in fact, humans. And that’s just one of the ways our current food system is negatively affecting the environment and climate.
People often tell me that when they think about the long list of problems our current food system—a term used to describe how we eat and where our food comes from—has created, they feel overwhelmed. I get that; it’s complicated. But that’s also not an excuse to do nothing. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, how you eat affects not only your body, but the planet—for better or for worse. That’s why I decided to write Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet—One Bite at a Time to give everyone—eaters, entrepreneurs in the food space, and policymakers—a blueprint to help make tangible steps toward change.
Maybe you think my book’s title is overblown. Can changing the way we eat really transform the economy, our communities, and planet? Well, yeah, it can. The truth is, we all have the potential to be changemakers.
Why our broken food system is ground zero for so many other problems
Let’s start with something that you’ve probably already thought about before: the connection between food and health. I’m not going to sugarcoat this (I don’t like sugar), but what and how we eat is a major contributor to the global epidemic of chronic disease. In 2019, The Lancet published an analysis of dietary risk factors in 195 countries based on the Global Burden of Disease study, the most comprehensive study of the effects of diet on health ever conducted. They found that a diet high in processed foods, refined grains, and sugar—which essentially describes the standard American diet—was responsible for 11 million deaths worldwide in the year 2017 alone.
Imagine if a viral outbreak killed 11 million people in a year. Governments would do everything in their power to stop it. But from where I sit, that urgency is not given to unhealthy foods causing chronic diseases and preventable deaths. The reason why our food isn’t given the same attention is because conditions like heart disease and cancer are seen as “noncommunicable,” aka not contagious; people think they just appear randomly due to genetics or are the result of poor judgment. We often unfairly blame the victim for these diseases, but the truth is that it comes down to the social, economic and political environment in which we live.
If we don’t start addressing the connection between unhealthy food and health, it’s going to destroy our economy, too. Treating chronic diseases—many of which are caused or exacerbated by food—will cost the global economy an estimated $47 trillion by 2030. It’s a number so unimaginably big that we could eradicate poverty with a check that size.
Then there’s the health of the planet to consider. Pollinators like bees—upon which 75 percent of our food production depends—are being killed by pesticides. Our soil health is deteriorating because of existing practices, like livestock grazing and pollution, which means the food we grow isn’t as nutrient-rich as it once was. Big agriculture (and the related deforestation to make room for new farms) are responsible for between a quarter and half of all greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.
Riled up? Good. It’s time to take action.
The “food fix” we should all start making now
There are a lot of big, systemic changes that have to be made in order to make our food system better for ourselves and for the planet. What does change look like, exactly? As I see it, everyone will have access to nutritious food; these healthy foods won’t cost more than unhealthy foods; they’re sourced in a way that’s humane and not harmful to the environment. To get here, there are certain things everyone can do to help push that change into existence.
Many of the big changes that need to happen to fix our food system need to be political. Fifty-three percent of citizens voted in the 2018 midterm election—and that was actually the highest turnout in four decades. Who you choose to represent you in government can go a long way towards ensuring that our nation’s food policy is truly healthier and most sustainable. That’s why I urge everyone to research their congressional representatives and senators and see what their beliefs are when it comes to how we eat. For example, do they support taxing items on soda and junk food, which have shown to be effective at incentivizing people to make healthier food choices? The Food Policy Action website, which tells you what your Congress member has voted on various food and agricultural issues, is a great resource for finding this information.
You can also vote with your dollar by supporting businesses and restaurants aligned with your food values. Brands want to make money; if consumers are demanding they make a change, they’ll do it. Several big companies, led by Campbell Soup Company, announced in 2016 that they would start disclosing genetically modified ingredients on all their packages nationwide—a change that happened because consumers demanded it. Kellogg’s recently declared they would no longer allow the toxic herbicide glyphosate in their cereals, and General Mills committed to 1 million acres to regenerative agriculture (a way of farming that helps reverse climate change). That’s just a few examples of how brands could change the way they operate if it will affect their bottom line.
Think about changes you can make in your community, too. Someone I know saw that her kids weren’t being served healthy foods in their school cafeteria. She started thinking of ways that worked within the school budget to create healthier, kid-approved school lunches. It launched with a pilot program and is so successful that it’s now expanding into other schools in her district.
We didn’t get to this place of brokenness overnight, nor is it one person’s fault. Collectively, and over time, we can fix this. But it starts by taking action now.
A recent review article looked at the latest data to determine if dietary changes can affect mental health.
Dietary psychiatry, an emerging field in mental health and treatment, has recently been featured in several scientific literature journals.
Although much of the data show a significant association, scientists are still trying to accurately determine whether diet can affect mental health. If so, how much of an effect can be seen?
In an effort to explicate and compare the evidence that has so far been presented, a team of scientists from several European countries has published a review article in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.
In this article, the authors warn that while there indeed appears to be a large evidence-base supporting the benefits of a healthy diet for mental health and wellbeing, such evidence is not thorough enough to be considered proof.
On the one hand, several efforts comparing large amounts of research showed that the Mediterranean diet indeed has an effect on mental health. Such a diet, high in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, was found to both protect against, as well as reduce the symptoms of depression. Similarly, vitamin B12 deficiency has been shown with great confidence to create symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, depression, and poor memory.
The authors also mention that detecting such effects varies across the lifespan. While deficiencies in nutrition can create very significant effects in early life, especially in infancy or in the womb, such effects rarely exist later on. In adulthood, the authors suggest, the effects would be relatively small, and it is possible that dietary changes would only have an effect on mental health for adults with poor nutritional habits.
The authors further explain that much of the evidence accumulated to this point is correlational, not causational. This means that more quality studies need to be conducted in order for this topic to be properly investigated. Just as important, however, the authors state that future research should attempt to explain the metabolic and cellular processes that connect nutrition and mental health or brain functioning.
Source: Medical News Bulletin
Food, at the most basic level, is nourishment. But many nutrient-rich ingredients also contain positive healing properties that can help alleviate frustrating, and often persistent, ailments. Today, I'm excited to share a few tasty remedies that can help you tame a cold, ease a bout of stress and lift fatigue. Let's eat, drink and be healthy!
Note: It's important to point out that medication is a vital way to manage and treat various health conditions. Food should not take the place of medication.
When you're feeling under the weather, these refreshingly sweet and hydrating ice pops are just what the doctor ordered. Simply mix five cold-and-flu-fighting ingredients together and freeze 'em in ice pop molds for a few hours. They're made from grapefruit, guava and carrots, which nourish your system with immune-boosting vitamin C and beta-carotene, while helping to tame uncomfortable symptoms such as sneezing, coughing and a runny nose. Plus, they're soothing on a sore throat and gentle on an upset stomach.
Feeling stressed and anxious?
When life leaves you frazzled, pour yourself a cup of orange-chamomile tea. This comforting beverage contains chamomile and orange, two ingredients that can help calm your nerves and relieve tension. Just add a few sliced oranges to a cup of hot chamomile tea, making sure to squeeze in some of the fresh juices to sweeten the taste and brighten the aroma. Pair with mini whole-grain sandwiches stuffed with hummus and thinly sliced cucumbers, because what else goes better with tea than tea sandwiches? Hummus, made with slow-burn chickpeas, is another tasty stress-buster.
No-Bake Espresso Energy Bites
Tired of feeling tired? Eat these energy bites! Each delicious bite is crammed with energizing ingredients like protein-packed nut butter, fiber-filled oats, omega-3-rich flax and chia seeds, antioxidant-loaded cocoa and the key ingredient: espresso! Plus, they're a cinch to make (no food processor or oven required) and can be stored for days in the refrigerator. Your body and taste buds (and friends, if you care to share) will thank you.
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