Food and Behaviour Research

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1st January 2006 - Sustain - Changing Diets, Changing Minds - how food affects mental health and behaviour

FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:

This new report 'Changing Diets, Changing Minds' was produced from a research partnership between Sustain and the Mental Health Foundation.

It does an excellent job of drawing together and summarising the evidence from a wide range of sources (including many FAB Researchers!), and illustrates the many ways in which nutrition can influence mental health.

See also the related review from the Mental Health Foundation:

This report pulls together the published evidence linking what we eat to how we feel - from foetal brain development to adolescent behaviour through to Alzheimer's disease.

This evidence suggests that changes to our food system (namely the rise of processed foods, food additives, industrialised farming, pesticides, animal fat, and also declining fish stocks) may be partly responsible for the rise in mental health and behavioural problems.

Specific conditions discussed include: ADHD, depression, schizophrenia and dementia (particularly Alzheimer's disease).

The roles of specific nutrients are also examined, including essential fatty acids (omega-3, or fish oils, and omega-6), hydrogenated (or trans) fats and various micronutrients e.g., selenium, magnesium, iron and vitamin C.