We all want to be happy; it’s a basic human drive. So, why aren’t we? Figures reveal that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and the second most common medical disorder. What is going wrong to make us all so sad? We reveal here the alarming truth behind this epidemic of misery, and we will teach you some simple strategies to help you stay safe and happy.
How Big Is the Problem?
More than 350 million people suffer from depression. If you experience sadness, guilt or low self-worth, you are not alone. The condition brings with it many symptoms, from a loss of pleasure in life, to feeling suicidal. Desperate to improve the happiness of the planet, the World Health Organization has been analyzing mental health all over the globe to find the source of the sadness.
What they found was quite surprising! Depression is a disease of affluence. It was the RICHEST countries who were the MOST depressed. So, is it money causing all the problems?
No! It was the poorest people in these rich countries who were suffering the most. Confused? Don’t worry, the clever folk at Deakin University figured it all out and now you can be in on the secrets to a happy life.
Nutritional Psychiatry Research
Professor Felice Jacka is leading a completely new area of psychiatry research which focusses on food. The world’s first studies looking at food and mental health showed a clear link between eating processed food and an increased risk of depression.
The team of researchers collected and reviewed data from all over the world. What they found was very clear: our diet has changed dramatically but our genetics have not.
We have evolved very little since we lived in trees and caves. However, in the last 50 years we have experienced unprecedented changes in what we eat. The industrialization of farming and food production means our food is not like our ancestors’. Food manufacturers preserve our food by adding extra chemicals and cheap sugars. This increases the profit margin for food producers and supermarkets, but WE are suffering the costs.
Western Diet or Wholesome Diet
The researchers found that although different countries once had very different diets, there was one thing in common. All the countries studied that were found to have higher rates of mental health problems, consumed typical Western food (processed and packaged) in addition to their ‘natural’ diet.
The key factor in the risk of depression and mental health isn’t what you eat, but what you DO NOT eat. Individuals who eat less processed food have MUCH lower rates of depression and mental health problems.
We Are What We Eat
Your body needs the right nutrients to function effectively. Processed and packaged foods are convenient and cheap, but they are lower in nutrients. Processing strips out all the best bits which nature has carefully crafted. Using high heat and pressure, combined with chemical catalysts, our food has changed from something synthesized from plants, to products that no longer resemble them at all.
We are only now starting to see the long term impact of these high calorie and low nutrient foods which drive the vast profits of the food and drink industry.
Why Are We Eating so Much Processed Food?
Most processed food also has added sugar. This tricks our brain and makes the food actually become addictive! Our brains evolved methods to help our ancestors survive food shortages: we experience ‘pleasure’ when we eat sweet foods. This makes us eat more of them and store up the excess as fat. Most people eating Western diets don’t experience food shortages but our brains still operate the same way.
Unfortunately the food industry knows this! Sugar creates addiction which equates to profit. Just have a look at some food labels yourself. Sugar is listed under many different names to protect the industry’s dirty little secret.
Professor Jacka publicly stated that processed food is causing the decline in mental health. It is addictive, heavily advertised, widely available, quick and convenient. In many places, it is the ONLY food that is available.
What Can I Do to Prevent Depression?
The answer is simple . . . . FEED YOUR BRAIN!
By making dietary changes, you can DRAMATICALLY reduce your chances of suffering from immediate and long-term mental health problems.
Step #1: Cut out the junk!
Read labels and avoid heavily processed foods. If you don’t understand the name an ingredient, don’t eat it! Eat meals made from fresh ingredients.
Step #2: Eat more fruit and vegetables
Plants are nature’s medicine and are packed full of nutrients and anti-oxidants which repair the body. The fiber also helps keep your gut healthy. Inflammation, due to leaky gaps between cells in the gut, is a major factor in many modern diseases.
Step #3: Eat more healthy fats!
Your brain is made of fat. Avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut and oily fish are all excellent sources of healthy fat. Depression is also associated with a loss of sex drive. Since hormones are made from fat, if you want that loving feeling back, try a dish of fish and avocado. It might not sound sexy, but trust me, it is!
Can It Be This Simple?
YES! Until now, depression research has been focused on treatments. Medications can reduce symptoms but they also have side effects and don’t tackle the underlying problem. The pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars from mental health. Nobody thought to investigate our diet instead!
Decide to Be Different!
If you want to feel happier and protect your mental wellbeing, then you need to make changes. Cutting out processed foods, with hidden sugars, can improve your mood and mental clarity in just a couple of weeks. Why not recruit your friends to support your new initiative? Let’s all be happier together!
Life doesn’t have to be depressing, give yourself permission to be happy. Maybe you are ready to even try it now? Allow yourself to smile. Smile with your mouth. Smile with your eyes. Smile with your heart and the next time you eat, smile at your food.