Brain starvation: How modern diets contribute to anger discourse

In recent years, emotional, irrational and even explosive expressions have increased in public discourses. Politicians are insulted during debates over the law. Scientists receive emails and tweets containing verbal threats and insults. what’s up? The increase in anger discourse is sometimes attributed to social media. But are there other influences that change our communication styles?

Many people in the community experience brain hunger, which impairs their cognitive function and emotional regulation, say Bonnie Kaplan and Julia Rockley, researchers in nutrition and mental health and authors of The Better Brain.

The above processed products

Obviously, not many people are deficient in macronutrients: North Americans tend to eat enough protein, fat (though not usually the best fats), and carbohydrates (usually complex carbohydrates are not good). But we are deprived of micronutrients (minerals and vitamins); Especially in people whose food choices are dominated by over-processed products.

Over-processed products include beverages such as soft drinks, packaged snacks, sweetened breakfast cereals and chicken nuggets. These foods usually contain small amounts of a few micronutrients, unless they are fortified, but even so, their amounts are slightly higher.

Ultra processed food

The above processed products contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals

The 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and the 2018 US National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) revealed these alarming figures: In Canada, in 2004, about 48% of the calories consumed by all ages came from processed products. was comming. In the United States, 67 percent of what 2- to 19-year-olds ate and 57 percent of what adults ate in 2018 were over-processed.

Many of us know that diet plays an important role in our physical health because the quality of our diet is linked to chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But the general public is less aware of the effects of nutrition on brain health.

Micronutrients and mental health symptoms

Given that our society’s food choices have shifted sharply to over-processed products, we need to know more about the scientific evidence that micronutrient intake affects mental health symptoms, especially irritability, explosive anger, and unstable moods. There is a lot of evidence in this field at the moment, although it is rarely mentioned in the media, as few people are familiar with it.

Several studies from countries such as Canada, Spain, Japan and Australia have shown that people who eat a healthy and complete diet have fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression than people who eat a poor diet (mostly over-processed products).

Correlation-based studies cannot prove that dietary choices are the cause of mental health problems: To this end, we turn to compelling prospective longitudinal studies in which people who do not appear to have mental health problems are included, evaluated for health and nutritional patterns, and then Are tracked over time. Some of the results have been surprising.

In a study of about 89,000 people in Japan with a follow-up of 10 to 15 years, the suicide rate in people on a complete diet was half that of those on a lower diet. This result indicates a new direction that is not considered in current suicide prevention programs.

In Canada, powerful observational findings show how children’s diet patterns and following other health guidelines regarding exercise and screen time predict which children between the ages of 10 and 11 will be referred to a physician for diagnosis within the next two years. Thus, nutrition education should be one of the first therapeutic strategies for children in this condition.

Irritability and unstable mood are often characteristic of depression, so it is logical that several independent studies have shown that teaching the Mediterranean diet to people with depression who have relatively poor diets has made significant progress. The Mediterranean diet is usually high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seafood, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.

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In one such study, about a third of people who returned to a complete diet in addition to regular treatment recovered from depression after 12 weeks. The recovery rate in the control group who received regular treatment but did not change their diet was less than one in 10 cases. The complete diet group also reported a 20 percent reduction in spending on their weekly food budget. Therefore, it is not true to say that a diet containing processed products is a way to save money.

Important evidence that irritability, outbursts of anger, and unstable moods can be relieved by improving micronutrient intake comes from studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of adding micronutrient supplements to treat mental health problems.

Most studies have examined only one nutrient at a time. While this is a common way of thinking about causation (you need medicine Y for problem X), our brains do not work this way. To support brain metabolism, the brain needs at least 30 micronutrients to ensure the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, as well as the breakdown and elimination of metabolic byproducts.

Many studies examining the effects of several nutrients have shown improvements in mood regulation and reduced irritability and explosive anger. For example, placebo-controlled randomized trials in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Mood Disorder have yielded similar results.

The evidence is clear: a well-nourished population is better able to cope with stress. The latent hunger of the brain is one of the changing factors that leads to emotional outbursts, aggression and even rudeness in public discourses.

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