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Diet and Mental Health | Heart Health Update

From eNewsletter 2/24/2020

DID YOU KNOW that it is very common for infants to have sleeping problems? As many families struggle with infants' sleeping problems, a study from Sleep Medicine assures parents that sleep quality is highly variable, particularly during the first two years of life.

First, sleep problems decreased by the age of 6 months, while night-time sleep began to come together during the second year. So hang in there new parents!


Bonnie and Steve: We were surprised to see a very positive study on the link between diet and mental health in the conservative journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.

Researchers stated the obvious, such as strong evidence that following a ketogenic diet of high fat and low carbohydrates may reduce seizures in children with epilepsy. Yet, they also confirmed that the Mediterranean diet guards against depression and anxiety. We're encouraged that they also mentioned evidence of a link between a poor diet and the worsening of mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.

When assessing the effect of vitamins, investigators found that the link is strongest between deficiencies in B12 and fatigue, lethargy, depression, mania, psychosis, and depression; in thiamine and central nervous system symptoms; in folic acid and neurodevelopment in utero and infancy and depression in adults; and niacin and dementia.

Moreover, the investigators note that a diet rich in polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and nutritional supplements "has been reported to exert favorable effects on mental health, including on cognitive performance, mood, stress, reactivity, and neuroinflammation".

As for ADHD and autism, an increase in the quantity of refined sugar in the diet seems to increase ADHD and hyperactivity, whereas eating more fresh fruit and vegetables seems to protect against these conditions.

The more mental health professionals can utilize diet and lifestyle interventions along with, or in place of, medication, the better.


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