[MOL] interesting info. on sugar & depression [12616] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] interesting info. on sugar & depression

Since we've been discussing healthy eating & since I know some people
here may be struggling w/depression as well as cancer, I thought I'd
send you this info. I found on the internet.  It explains the
sugar-depression connection.

Good Mood Foods

--by Catherine Carrigan

It's a fact: you can change your mood every time you open your mouth to
eat. As scientists discover more about the
biochemical link between food and emotion, the latest research answers
some important questions.

Why does what we eat play such an important role in how we feel? Blood
sugar levels offer one explanation. The
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis - the middle part of the brain that
regulates emotions - is so sensitive it can detect changes
in blood sugar levels of as little as 2 milligrams. Clinically,
hypoglycemia is defined by blood glucose levels of 50 mg/dl or less.
You do not have to be clinically hypoglycemic to suffer roller-coaster
moods as a result of swings in your blood sugar.

Stress and anger also change our body's nutritional needs. Dr. Gregory
Heigh, radio host in Tampa, Fla., warns bodybuilders
and others who want to maintain the muscles they work so hard to build,
"Anger will make you fat." Five minutes of pure anger
will raise cortisol levels for at least 6 hours. High levels of
cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, cause the body to
break down its own lean mass, including muscle tissue. To prevent muscle
tissue breakdown during times of stress, include
more protein in the diet.

Carbohydrates have a tranquilizing effect on the mind because they
stimulate the production of serotonin. Low levels of
serotonin are a consistent finding in alcoholics, people with
carbohydrate craving obesity, and depression. If you feel suddenly
stressed or simply want to ward off a pantry raid, Dr. Judith Wurtman,
author of The Serotonin Solution, recommends eating
about 1.5 ounces of pure carbohydrates - the amount in one regular-sized
bagel, one cup of pasta, or a small potato - to
stimulate a surge of serotonin.

What's the best diet for people who suffer from mood disorders?
According to Healing Depression: A Guide to Making
Intelligent Choices about Treating Depression (Sante Fe, N.M.:
Heartsfire Books, 1997), avoid anything that would cause
blood sugar levels to fluctuate dramatically, including alcohol,
caffeine, and sugar. Aspartame blocks serotonin, and other food
additives like, such as MSG, glutamic acid, and aspartic acid, have been
proven to depress the central nervous system.
Fermented, processed, and yeast-filled foods are also no-nos. Fermented
foods can lead to a buildup of yeasts in the body.
Candida albicans and other yeasts emit more than 100 different
byproducts, including the same components as wood alcohol
and smog, which affect the middle part of the brain where emotions are

Vegetables and unsweet fruits - such as Granny Smith apples, kiwi,
cranberries, blueberries, and strawberries - should be
plentiful in the diet. Include more organic foods, particularly
range-fed meats that are free of hormones and antibiotics and
lower in fat, as well as whole grains, especially gluten-free
alternatives like millet, quinoa, and amaranth. Cold-pressed
vegetable oils are important in the diet because fatty acids are the
components of nerve cell membranes. Good sources include
flaxseed, linseed, safflower and walnut oils. Protein at every meal has
also been proven helpful.

Here's another reason to avoid the typical junk food fare: High fat
diets have been linked to an increased risk of suicide.

About 6 million Americans are on Prozac, and untold numbers of others
take St. John's wort as well as other herbal and
prescription antidepressants. We expect tiny pills to make dramatic
changes in our moods without considering the effects of the
large amounts of food we take into our bodies every day.

Whether you are fighting off depression or simply wanting to eat for
health and well-being, following these dietary guidelines will
help stabilize your moods, keep your thinking clearly, and sharpen your
ability to learn and remember.

--Catherine Carrigan, daylilly@aol.com, is an ACE certified personal
fitness trainer and author of "Healing Depression: A Guide to Making
Intelligent Choices about Treating Depression."
February 1998

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