Food and mood – What you eat to enhance your mood

Food and mood – What you eat to enhance your mood

If you are depressed, should you see a psychiatrist or a nutritionist? Perhaps both. More research seems to point that eating the right foods may help alleviate depressing feelings.

The food and mood relationship keeps coming up in research. Does that mean you should drop your medications? The answer is No. Depression and other mood disorders may very well be chemically related. It is associated with hormones and fluids in the brain and elsewhere, heavily supported by comprehensive studies. Eating certain foods may augment those chemicals but not necessarily change their bio-availability. The food and mood relationship is further exacerbated by what foods help and what food don’t help. The professionals are so conflicted about the foods that, for affective effectiveness, you might just as well stick to the pill.

For more than 30 years, books on food and mood have lined shelves and online searches filled with twists of what may work.

Columbia University’s Mailman institute seems to be focused on food and mood by delivering interesting studies about childhood anxiety and food allergies. CBS news has produced a story how researchers are trying to tie-in numerous and large studies to explore and reveal the food and mood connection.

digestive system parts are linked to the brain by the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve, when stimulated, sends mild signals to the brain to indicate that the gut is hungry. At this point all sorts of hormones are triggered, insulin is -preparing for food but none is coming. That might have something to do with brain fog that develops a couple hours after a routine meal. Brain fog occurs when the symptoms of low blood sugar are experienced a few hours after a meal even though blood glucose levels remain normal. This is also known as postprandial (“after eating”) hypoglycemia or postprandial dip. Performance a few hours after eating can fade and lead to anxiety.

There are some unique clinical aspects that are discussed because the relationships of food and mood seem like a simple way of treating depression. Is it? And do we really know what they are and how they work?

While many studies seem to make it appear that those living in Mediterranean regions have lower reports of depression, does it really correlate with food and mood? A recent report shows that 44% of women in East Mediterranean countries have mental disorders. A European survey reported that those reporting depression were about 11% in Italy, just slight lower than European average? Are these people NOT eating the Mediterranean Diet?

What is noted is that living the Mediterranean lifestyle – physical movement, social activities, and dietary adherence, might suggest lower reports of depression.

Then there are many other possible causes of depression mood disorder, not associated with food. The exact cause of depression disorders are not clearly known. However, there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition. The APA might suggest that there are combinations of genes and stress that can influence changes in brain chemistry and reduce the ability to maintain mood stability. Yet, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) does stress depression’s alarming statistics:

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life.

Yet the diagnosis is more involved with the symptoms than lifestyle causes of depression. It is very unlikely to indicate food and mood.

Per APA, symptoms are:

(Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:)

Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss of energy or increased fatigue
Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
Feeling worthless or guilty
Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide

Of course, other possibilities may have an influence over any of these symptoms.

Food and mood may be associated with adding certain Omega 3 fats with slow absorbing carbohydrates. Low glycemic foods, chocolate, and food that has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, tryptophan, folate and other B vitamins, have all been studied to evaluate their impact on mood. Results vary from study to study, but there usually appears to be an association between these foods and improved mood. Fundamentally, a good, healthy meal, with a vitamin supplement, might suggest an elevation in mood.

Beyond food, the importance of adequate hydration is often neglected. Your body needs water above any other liquid refreshment. General recommendations indicate that you drink 2 liters of water each day. Studies seem to indicate that moods change as your hydration drops. Water is the most overlooked nutrient. Many active people use skin sensing hydration monitors to assure that they are adequately hydrated. Drinking water also helps reduce that brain fog that may occur when meals are spaced too far apart – or beyond habituation. Think of water as a filling snack. Just keep it clear. No sweet drinks, sodas, juices, or coffee. Just cool, clear water.

Considering food and mood routinely is noble. There are subtle nuances in wither with differing benefits and consequences. Prescription anti-depressants are probably the best bet if your mood is blue for over a few months. Anti-depressants also have side effects that may continue to affect your moods negatively.

Severe or abrupt diets or intermittent fasting may be more depressing unless you really believe that you can and will transition for long term results. Food, processed or whole, have calories, carbohydrates, fats, cholesterol (and other things that people need to control) may be significant confounding variables. Eating tuna and salmon daily can bring Mercury poisoning. That alone is something to get depressed over.

Barring any unique illnesses or conditions, following USDA dietary guidelines would provide a healthy diet plan that could be satisfying in many ways, including your mood.

Chronic mood disorders may really require competent psychotherapists to prescribe those medications that work best and that you can tolerate.

In light degrees, food and mood may be close cousins. Depending upon dietary and mood severity, food and mood may be strange bed-partners. You are the peace maker. Food and mood are indirectly correlated with a positive slant. Some foods may not boost mood directly. Many work on different scopes of healthy nutrition. In virtually all variants, a good diet might be a good supplement to anti-depression therapy. It’s all relative.

Music memory and madness

The world is alive with the sounds of music. Babies react to sounds even before birth and that sense of hearing reaches far and wide within the brain of nearly every individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, intelligence, and politics. Music as sound is a primary language. As such, can music be associated with the integrities of memory and madness?

One of my earliest research projects studied how music may be associated with memory and madness – behavior. Those were the days when Alzheimer’s Disease was limited terminology and insurances didn’t cover cognitive disorders. New research technologies demonstrate that music may help prevent and treat memory and madness in senior populations.

In brain imaging scans, music has been shown to excite pleasure areas of the brain. Due to expenses, these studies have been very small.

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the use of music as therapy shows evidence that it positively affects many behaviors and memory functions. A new, large study at the University of Wisconsin explores music and Alzheimer’s Disease effectiveness. The State of Wisconsin and the University are investing $300,000 for this study. The study is part of a Catalyst Grant program at the University. Are the simple power of sounds and music effective in reducing memory and madness?

Music therapy has been studied as being beneficial for developmental diseases such as Autism as a treatment modality but not as a cure. The music therapy for autism studies, however, have been small but yielded promising results if further investment were granted.

With a rise in senior population, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia bring memory studies to the forefront. Therapeutic interventions and successes involving music therapy with the symptoms of memory loss offer exciting research opportunities. Wisconsin’s population of those age 65 or over is slightly higher than the USA national average. The new University of Wisconsin studies may have deep impact.

Access to different music resources are friendlier as more adults use MP3 players and cellular phones. Government (and private) sponsored organizations such as Older Adults Technology Services help seniors make use of computers and download resources. Many senior centers now offer courses to learn about computer use. Access to free music is virtually limitless through websites online. At no point in history has music been as accessible as it is now. Using music as a therapy tool may deliver some extraordinary benefits.

At a university in Belfast, a rather large and long study found that music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents. Studies also show that music, as a therapeutic intervention can relieve anxiety, depression in older people. Depression and anxiety may somewhat lead to cognitive impairment. There are many new studies citing evidence that music reaps many benefits for all ages.

Anesthesiologists have found that post-surgical patients listening to jazz music in the recovery room are more relaxed when researchers monitored heart rate. Is mellow jazz helpful for hospital use?

Technology can often confound other technologies. New hearing aids use special integrated sound technologies that facilitate conversations. Many older people wearing these hearing aids find that listening to MP3 music on these results in unwanted noise. You may need a simpler, older hearing aid for music listening.

Listening to loud music while driving may help you feel relaxed but studies show that it can lead to distracted driving and accidents.

Using music as therapy can be conducive as an aid in treating memory and madness issues. Much of the noted research has been published in the last two years, most in the past few months It is a growing field seeking more professionals. Of course, there are some people who simply don’t enjoy music listening. That’s what makes therapy very challenging. Music may offer no positive effects or increase anxiety even more.

Music therapy has many benefits for Alzheimer’s disease. It may help by soothing an agitated person, igniting associative memories, engage the mind even in the disease’s later stages, and improve appetite and eating in some cases. It is beneficial for symptoms of cognitive loss but it is not a cure. At best, like many drugs, it may slow progression.

So, if you remember too many tip-of-the-tongue memory losses, it may be time to schedule a cognitive assessment test with a memory healthcare professional. There are many available technologies and there are conflicting opinions about the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sometimes, for example, it may be neurovascular episodes. Take more than one test at different centers to assure a fair and less partial diagnosis. There’s much money to be made in the business of Alzheimer’s disease.

Author William Congreve (1697) wrote:

“Music has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”

and brings about the question, Can music heal? More studies are focusing on music therapy as a means of treating memory and madness. Music may not be all-encompassing but, with greater availability, may prove beneficial. More large research on music therapy should be investigated.

Robin Williams spaced out genius dies

It’s always sad to hear that a celebrity of our time dies early. Most were first exposed to Robin Williams as Mork, a visitor to Earth from another planet. Williams was a quick wit improvisational actor who was Juilliard trained. Be it stand-up comedy, drama or thriller, Robin Williams fit the part and entertained millions of fans. So why does he die at age 63? Depression may be at the root. Suicide is the cause.

There are strong correlations between genius and madness in artists and actors. It seems the more talented they are, they die too soon. The culprit is depression. The modus operandi is suicide.

Sometimes all that bustling creativity and its presence is masked or a way to mask dishonesty.

A celebrity needs to mask his identity despite his mood or motivation. That can take considerable energy. To regain that energy, many leap at drugs as ways of stimulating a flatline effect. They have the energy to perform.

As Robin Williams approached 60, he may have seemed to lose his sense of timing. In a recent CBS TV series, The Crazy Ones, Robin Williams seemed to be pushing his character to be as funny as he is remembered. Sometimes it worked but often it didn’t. After the May sweeps, CBS cancelled the show. It’s tough and sad to see a genius drop.

A 19th-century actor, Edmund Keane, is famous for the phrase “dying is easy (but) comedy is hard.” Being funny is hard as many comedians will attest. As the sad, forlorn clown, the laughmakers always travel a fine line between humor and tragedy.

Depression is not an end, it is a means to an end. One is actively depressing and even some anti-depressants can’t fix the neurochemicals that are supposed to bring you up. Add the panic of losing it as you age, depressing moves faster and further into the psyches of many performers.

Fortunately, there are many prescription-based medications that help combat symptoms of depression. These need careful control since they act differently on many different neurotransmitters, the chemical balances of depression. Unfortunately, there are many supplements, alcohol, and illegal drugs that help mask depressing symptoms as well. For the intents of saving face or self-preservation, few coping with depression reach points where chronic conditions can be effectively managed. By the time depressed feelings take over, it is often too late.

Many creative people cope with depressing. The problem is that observable symptoms are often disguised from others as well as themselves. Then there’s self-recognition. There are negative stigmas in the perception that depression is an emotional disease. It should be seen as a chronic disease, like diabetes for example.

There are probably many more creative people out of the limelight that have been prone to severe depression. There have been poets, composers, musicians, artists, scientists, thinkers, and writers that have occasionally had depression symptoms.

Depression is normally not seen as a condition with a high morbidity rate. As a celebrity icon of our generation, it is difficult to speculate what caused Robin Williams to take his own life. Acts of suicide claim the lives of about 30,000 Americans each year. About half affect men between ages 25 to 65. About 15% of people who are clinically depressed may commit suicide. There are many more out of the system who deal with their moods differently but still die.

Many religions forbid suicide as an attempt to kill oneself. Yet even some of the devoted religionists found moral turpitude in forging mass suicides. We have seen it happen in many cults. Indeed, depression and suicide are not merely a sign of modern times. It has had enough prevalence in human civilization that codes of law found suicide to be a punishable offense.

It is hard to figure what exactly Robin Williams might have been thinking. He was still making movies and projects will be released posthumously. Sometimes the problem just might be that he is hired because he’s Robin Williams, an acclaimed actor. Yet, secretly, Robin Williams guessed that both character and name were becoming an illusion. At the end, he wanted to ride slowly into the sunset. It’s sad and tragic.

In death do we honor. Robin Williams’ gave us many laughs and many superb performances that (hopefully) will be cherished by other generations and our own. His impressions on us through his talents and creativities deserve our honor. If we are to gain something more from his death, it might be an appreciation of how creativity and depression are associated. Tragedy is easy but comedy is harder. We should attempt to stabilize our moods in appropriate ways, and practice comedy inwardly and outwardly. It may be very hard.

We will mourn Robin Williams and revere the memories he has given us. Like all others who succumb from depressing, it’s difficult to find comedy in death. That may be why tragedy is easy and comedy is hard. For those that enjoyed his talents, this brings a tearful laugh. His death is depressing. Let’s remember his life.