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How diet affects your mental health

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Brain.

London: Diet significantly influences mental health and wellbeing, but this link is firmly established only in some areas such as the ability of a high fat and low carbohydrate diet (a ketogenic diet) to help children with epilepsy, and the effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on fatigue, poor memory, and depression, says a study.

The research, published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, cautions that the evidence of a ink between diet and mental health for many diets is comparatively weak.

“We have found that there is increasing evidence of a link between a poor diet and the worsening of mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. However, many common beliefs about the health effects of certain foods are not supported by solid evidence,” said lead author Suzanne Dickson, Professor at University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The researchers who conducted a comprehensive review of studies linking diet with mental health also found that there is good evidence that a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables and olive oil, shows mental health benefits, such as giving some protection against depression and anxiety.

However, for many foods or supplements, the evidence is inconclusive, as for example with the use of vitamin D supplements, or with foods believed to be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism.

“With individual conditions, we often found very mixed evidence,” said Dickson.

“With ADHD for example, we can see an increase in the quantity of refined sugar in the diet seems to increase ADHD and hyperactivity, whereas eating more fresh fruit and vegetables seems to protect against these conditions.

“But there are comparatively few studies, and many of them don’t last long enough to show long-term effects,” she added.

The scientists confirmed that some foods had readily provable links to mental health, for example, that nutrition in the womb and in early life can have significant effects on brain function in later life.

Proving the effect of diet on mental health in the general population was more difficult.

“In healthy adults dietary effects on mental health are fairly small, and that makes detecting these effects difficult: it may be that dietary supplementation only works if there are deficiencies due to a poor diet,” Dickson said.

“We also need to consider genetics: subtle differences in metabolism may mean that some people respond better to changes in diet than others,” she added.

There are also practical difficulties which need to be overcome in testing diets. A food is not a drug, so it needs to be tested differently to a drug.

We can give someone a dummy pill to see if there is an improvement due to the placebo effect, but you can’t easily give people dummy food.

“There is a general belief that dietary advice for mental health is based on solid scientific evidence. In reality, it is very difficult to prove that specific diets or specific dietary components contribute to mental health,” Dickson said.

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Novel predicted coronavirus 40 years ago, Internet stumped

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

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New Delhi, Feb 17: An excerpt of the Novel “The Eyes of Darkness”, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense author Dean Koontz is revolving around the social media which tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus as part of its biological weapons programme.

In chapter 39 of his book, Koontz writes that the lab is located in Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400.

Congress leader Manish Tewari has also tweeted excerpts from a book that went viral on the Internet that the coronavirus involved in the outbreak in China’s Wuhan appears to be man-made.

“Is Coranavirus a biological Weapon developed by the Chinese called Wuhan -400? This book was published in 1981. Do read the excerpt,” Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted.

Tewari highlighted a paragraph that read: “They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four hundredth viable strain of man-made micro-organisms created at that centre.”

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

A user wrote, “Haha Infinite monkey theorem. Pick any event and chances are that some book written at some would have a similar plot . Conspiracy theory has no end.”

Another wrote, “Sensational … No doubt China had replaced Russia and USSR as rogue country in Hollywood films and later James Bond movies.”

A post read, “Intriguing for sure, hope the truth comes out.”

A user remarked, “Okay if it is then it surely backfired on them!”

By the end of Sunday, a total of 1,770 people had died of the disease and 70,548 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in China.

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WHO underestimates coronavirus’ ability to spread: Study

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

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Coronavirus

London, Feb 15 : The novel coronavirus may have greater ability to spread than the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated so far, according to a review of previous studies of the virus’ transmissibility.

“Our review shows that the coronavirus is at least as transmissible as the SARS virus. And that says a great deal about the seriousness of the situation,” said Joacim Rocklov, Professor of Sustainable Health at Umea University in Sweden and one of the authors of the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

A reproduction number is a measurement of how many people a contaminated person transmits the virus to in a previously healthy population.

The higher the number, the more transferable the virus is and the higher the risk of its rapid spread.

When the reproduction number falls below 1.0, the epidemic is likely to die out.

Researchers in Umea in Sweden, Heidelberg in Germany and Zhangzhou in China have carried out a review of several scientific studies of the novel coronavirus.

In total, the researchers found twelve studies of sufficiently high quality.

The studies consisted of estimations of the growth rate based upon the cases observed in the Chinese population, and based upon statistical and mathematical methods.

The earliest studies of the coronavirus indicated a relatively low transmissibility. Thereafter, the transmissibility rose rapidly to stabilise between 2-3 in the most recent studies.

The reproduction number in the studies summed up to a mean of 3.28, and a median of 2.79, which is significantly higher than the World Health Organization’s estimation of 1.4-2.5.

“When looking at the development of the corona epidemic, reality seems to correspond well to or even exceed the highest epidemic growth in our calculations. Despite all intervention and control activities, the coronavirus has already spread to a significantly higher extent than SARS did,” said Rocklov.

The overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus on Saturday increased to 1,523, with a total of 66,492 confirmed cases, authorities said.

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Novel coronavirus to be called COVID-19: WHO

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COVID 19

New Delhi, Feb 12 : The deadly novel coronavirus has now got its official name. From now on, the virus will be known as ‘COVID-19’.

In a statement released by the World Health Organisation, its Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “we now have a name for the disease: COVID-19. I’ll spell it: C-O-V-I-D hyphen one nine – COVID-19.” He termed the virus as “a common enemy.”

The statement was released on Tuesday by the World Health Organisation.

The WHO chief also said that, “under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease. Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

According to the World Health Organisation there were 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China, and tragically the death toll surpassed 1000 deaths as on Tuesday. “1017 people in China have lost their lives due to this virus. Most of the cases and most of the deaths are in Hubei province. Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, and 1 death,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.

The world health body also said that it had activated a UN Crisis Management Team, to be led by Dr Mike Ryan that will help the organisation focus on the health response while the other agencies could bring their expertise to bear on the wider social, economic and developmental implications of the outbreak so we are all working to our strengths. Dr Mike Ryan will coordinate the whole UN response.

WHO is also hosting a two-day meeting of more than 400 scientists from around the world, both in person and virtually called Global research and innovation forum on February 11 and 12.

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