This morning’s news – a Mediterranean diet helps treat depression – really?!!
And they followed on to say that studies must be done. Oh for goodness sake! Where do I start?!
Firstly a diet full of fruit and vegetables is NOT a Mediterranean diet – it is a healthy diet. A Mediterranean diet is heavy on the veg grown in the region plus olive oil – which also includes other fruit and veg of course. We can be just as healthy in the UK by eating a wide range of fruit and veg and as we go into the Autumn we will have a heavier dose of root veg such as parsnip, turnip, swede, carrot, spud – and who else is waiting for the first frost for a really yummy Brussel sprout? Definitely one of the pluses of the colder weather.
Secondly we do not need to spend gazillions on studies – ask any woman who has experienced PMT and the magic relief brought by a good B-Complex (I know the main ingredient for PMT is B6 because it helps balance sex hormones and is a natural anti-depressant but the B vitamins get lonely – they much prefer to work in a pack). All are necessary for energy production, reducing inflammation, good brain and skin function. B2 helps turn fat into energy, B1 the same with protein, B5 controls fat metabolism and is essential for your nerves and making anti-stress hormones, B12 is essential for good DNA production and helps handle oxygen and toxins. And back to B6 – it also helps control allergic reactions. Where do you find all these naturally? Well, sadly not as much in your food these days but they are all there in that lovely fruit and veg apart from B12 which needs an animal starting block (meat, dairy, eggs) – so calling all vegans – you really need to be taking a supplement as it’s hard to get B12 from a purely plant based diet.
We already know that the deficiency in Vitamin D over the winter can push some people into SAD and depression. Again – you vegans need to be taking a supplement as the best sources are again in animal based products.
Have a you had a mouth ulcer lately? Do you have poor night vision? Get frequent colds, thrush, cystitis? Certainly conditions that will make you feel grumpy if not completely depressed. Well, your best friend is Vitamin A – you certainly aren’t getting enough (warning – be careful of the dose of this if you are in the early stages of pregnancy). This is available in the fruit and veg aisle – look for all those yellow, orange and red colours especially although there are also good doses in asparagus and broccoli.
And what about Vitamin C? Well, we know a lot about this as it is banded about in the press quite often. The real truth? Without this vitamin we would leak like a sieve – it is essential for keeping all your capillaries and arteries in tip top condition. Who knows an elderly person who bruises easily or gets bleeds on the backs of the hands (or anywhere really)? Top up their diet with Vitamin C and hey presto! No more bleeds. Have high cholesterol? Check your Vitamin C intake – when your capillaries and arteries are weakening the body produces cholesterol to paper over the cracks a bit like polyfilla. Guess what Vitamin C does? Yup! Removes the polyfilla and strengthens the capillaries. And there’s more – noticing a few more lines than you’d like? Worried about osteporosis? Even the big C? Vitamin C makes collagen – bingo – less lines and improved bone, skin and joints. Even being stressed uses up Vitamin C so if you don’t have enough guess what? You feel more stressed!! Take in more Vitamin C and you feel less stressed immediately – it’s magic. And it is essential for our immune system. If we are fighting too many fires our body becomes stressed and then starts to misbehave as there isn’t enough to produce all the bits and pieces that check all the processes (I’ll do a separate piece on this because it is fascinating!) and that’s when the wheels get really wobbly and we head down the path that amongst other things can lead to cancer.
And we haven’t even touched on Vitamin E, K and all the minerals. Have I persuaded you to head for the fruit and veg aisle yet? Be colourful! Ban the beige from your basket.
And if you want to take vitamins in supplement form please ask. They need to be good quality, preferably food based and set up in the right way for you. Not all supplements are created equally and some can be stressful for the body – you don’t want to make things worse! Checking is simple to do either in the clinic or over the phone or by Skype.
Have a lovely, colourful, fruitful day! 🙂