The American diet: Insidious Mind-Body Damage

The modern American diet. One of those emotional, touchy, messy, endearing subjects.

While providing many with experiences of joy and (literally) drug-like reactions (Yes, sugar’s response in our brain mimics cocaine’s response), some of the modern day processed foods can cause diseases of both the mind and body.

You heard right, body AND mind. Our brains. Mental illness. It’s real.

I only emphasize that because while it’s easier to see the growing impacts on our physical health through increasing rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease–it’s also important to understand the deleterious impacts on our mental health as well (that which is not as tangible—yet.) Diet also impacts our levels of serotonin and a whole food diet & exercise has been one of the best (if not more so effective) treatments to depression/anxiety than medication (pharmaceutical companies would hate me for saying so–but, hey, my moral compass is more important than your pocket book).

Indeed, modern neuroscientists are constantly finding links between diet and behaviors, increased rates of depression/anxiety, and overall mental well being. Scientists are finally able to look at processes in the brain (versus just snap shots like in the 90’s/00’s) and in essence, entering a whole new world of understanding of our mind’s processes and systems. Yay!

Furthermore, what we put into our bodies impacts our aging process. Obese people have higher levels of DNA damage and less repair mechanisms than people who are slender. DNA damage is indicative of cancer, pre-mature aginig, etc. The repair processes require Magnesium to function well and unfortunately 45% of Americans don’t get the Magnesium they need (this is also what’s found in green, leafy plants).

Unfortunately, it gets worse. These traits can also be passed on to our kiddos due to epigenetics. Epigenetics turn genes on and off~ and guess what? They are regulated largely by diet, exercise, sleep, and stress. What does this mean? Diabetes might be passed on through our genetics.

The good news? You can reverse these effects through healthy diet and exercise.

So what dietary changes can people make? This is a complex question… every person’s dietary needs are unique but there are a few guidelines we know apply to most people. (Again, consult a professional/get a blood test to fully understand your personal needs).

Eat whole foods. As hippie-to earth, organic as possible. That means produce, local meats (raised humanely), and dairy products. Skip the diet foods. Skip ANY thing with ingredients in it you can’t bake at home. Seriously, that stuff could be just as terrible as the bacteria you find under your toilet, or worse.

It’s expensive but, so is insulin/medicine and losing your health, premature illness and doctor visits…just ask seniors taking 18 pills a day!

Take supplements for Magnesium (45% of Americans are deficient) and Vitamin D (70% of Americans are deficient) ~4000 IUD’s a day… Take your vitamins in general (the research has only shown some vitamins are bad once you already HAVE cancer because it can fuel the cancer, but as a preventative measure nothing better helps your healthy body function well).

Those newspaper articles on how Vitamins are bad for you? They’re made for ratings, not for accurate portrayals of scientific research. If you can, always have a critical eye for what you read in the paper until you actually decode the research they cite (you’ll be blown away at how much is misconstrued).

Okay–that’s all I have for today. There’s much more to understanding the mind-body interactions but in my efforts to be kind to your attention reserves, I’ll leave you with an awesome YouTube Video that I HIGHLY recommend which has inspired this article and elucidates WITH PICTURES how important this information is.

My very best,

J

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