What you eat can greatly impact your mental health. That’s the gist of new research, presented at this year’s American Psychiatric Association 2016 Annual Meeting.
One of the main speakers was Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, who has also written books including 50 Shades of Kale and the new Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health. He spoke about his continued research into his “brain food scale,” a list of foods – both plant- and animal-based – that he and his colleagues believe can help in the treatment and prevention of depression and possibly other mental illnesses as well. “The data are very clear that there's a powerful prevention signal when we help our patients eat better,” Ramsey was quoted as saying.
At the heart of his approach is the belief that many people aren’t getting enough of key nutrients that can help the brain. His team has been digging through research trying to identify which of these nutrients are the most important. “We were very interested in using the scientific literature to winnow down the key nutrients that have evidence that they are very, very involved in depression,” he said. Included in his list are long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, fiber and vitamins B1, B9, B12, D, and E.
So what foods should you eat to boost your brain’s depression fighting capabilities? For animal proteins, seafood scores high on Ramsey’s scale, especially, bivalves like oysters, clams and mussels. He also recommends organ meats (time to hit that offal hard). For plants, most of the usual leafy green vegetables like make the list.
Of course, there’s something inherently depressing about eating clams, liver and kale all the time. But my guess is that Dr. Ramsey has done far more research into his theory than I have into my theory – which is that chicken parms are so damn delicious, eating one for every meal is guaranteed to make you happy. If anyone would like to fund my research email me ASAP.