WHAT YOU EAT IS WHO YOU ARE
IS YOUR BEHAVIOUR RELATED TO THE FOOD YOU EAT?
Here is how poor nutrition can lead to odd behaviour
Followers of fad diets, beware. Apart from affecting your physical wellbeing, studies have suggested that nutritional deficiencies and/or an imbalance of bacteria in your gut results in several behavioural problems. The reason food has an immediate and lasting effect on mental health is because of the way it affects the structure and function of the brain. Your gut has the ability to influence your mind, mood and behaviour. This is why you find yourself thinking from your stomach each time you are hungry. Here, we pick three vitamins and explain how their deficiency in the body can cause a behavioural problem.
LACK OF VITAMIN B3 LEADS TO: Anxiety, fatigue EAT: Wheat bran, chicken Vitamin B3, or niacin, is an essential vitamin required for processing fat in the body, lowering cholesterol levels, and regulating blood sugar levels. It is learnt that a deficiency of niacin leads to pellagra, a condition characterised by diarrhoea, dermatitis, dementia, inflammation of the mouth, amnesia, and delirium. Even a slight deficiency of niacin can lead to irritability, poor concentration, anxiety, fatigue, restlessness, apathy, and depression. In fact, niacin found in large quantities in rice, wheat bran, chicken and peanuts is regarded as a secret treatment for psychological disorders such as attention deficit disorder, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and general psychosis, which affects one’s social behaviour.
LACK OF FERMENTED FOODS LEADS TO:
Memory loss EAT: Idlis, dhoklas Be it idli, dosa, raita or dhokla, fermented food have
been a staple in practically all our diets. They play a crucial role in maintaining of gut health. In fact, most age-related problems like memory loss stem from lack of protective intestinal microbiota (the microbe population living in our intestine). In a recent study, polyamines (low molecular weight aliphatic polycations, highly charged and ubiquitously present in all living cells), found in foods suc
h as wheat germ, fermented soy, and matured cheese, were shown to prevent memory decline in fruit flies. Medical experts explain, your body gets polyamines from three sources: Endogenous biosynthesis, intestinal microorganisms, and through diet. They advise eating a rich supplement of high quality probiotic or nonpasteurised, traditionally fermented foods to maximise the variety of bacteria in the diet. However, eating fermented food alone may not be enough if the rest of your diet is poor. The gut bacteria are an active and integrated part of your body, and are vulnerable to your overall lifestyle. If you eat a lot of processed foods, your gut bacteria are going to be compromised because these foods will destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast. Besides, your gut bacteria are sensitive to antibiotics, chlorinated water, antibacterial soap and pollution. So if you’ve been Mr Forgetful of late, you know which factors may be at play.
OMEGA 3 DEFICIENCY LEADS TO: Irritability EAT: Oily fish, soy, nuts One nutrient in particular that is essential for optimal brain functioning is omega-3 fatty acid. The brain relies on a mixture of complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids (EFAs) — particularly Omega 3 and Omega 6 — vitamins and water to work properly. Highly processed food contains high levels of transfats, which can assume the same position in the brain as the EFAs, without delivering the proper nutrients. This nutritional deficiency could hamper the body’s production of amino acids, which are vital to good psychological health. Neurotransmitters, made from amino acids, are chemicals, which transmit nerve impulses between the brain cells. Serotonin, a key neurotransmitter made by the amino acid tryptophan, helps to regulate feelings of contentment and anxiety, as well as playing a role in regulating depression. Many adults do not have sufficient levels of tryptophan because their intake of nuts, seeds and wholegrains is low. A deficiency of this supplement is known to change the levels and functioning of both serotonin and dopamine (which plays a role in feelings of pleasure), as well as compromise the bloodbrain barrier, which normally protects your brain from unwanted matter gaining access. Omega-3 deficiency can also decrease normal blood flow to your brain, an interesting finding given that studies show people with depression have compromised blood flow to a number of brain regions. High omega-3 deficiency can be a contributing factor to deteriorating mental health along with vitamin D deficiency, which also plays an important role. In addition to consuming fermented foods, eliminating most sugars and grains from your diet is also of importance as these increase your risk of insulin resistance, which is also linked to psychological problems such as depression and violent behaviour.
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