One of the most intriguing studies I’ve come across suggests that a high carbohydrate diet heavy on the pasta, white bread, bagels, white rice, plus sodas (regular and diet), red meat and margarine sets off chronic inflammation and that this inflammation can lead to depression in addition to all the physical illnesses it can foster. The study, from the Harvard School of Public Health, is important because it ties diet to inflammation and inflammation to depression. You may have heard or read about the results – some news reports suggested that the pasta is to blame. That’s partly true, but an inflammatory diet serves up a lot more than pasta.
The new findings are, if nothing else, food for thought: women participating in the study who ate an “inflammatory diet” containing all those carbs were 29 to 41 percent more likely to be diagnosed or treated for depression than women in the study whose diets were healthier. The Harvard researchers spent 12 years assessing the diets and the risk of depression among 43,685 women taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-running investigation of factors that influence women’s health. When they joined the study, none of the women, who ranged in age from 50 to 77, had a history of depression.
The research team first identified a dietary pattern related to blood levels of certain “markers” of inflammation in the body (the best known of these is c-reactive protein, which is produced by the liver and rises as levels of inflammation increase). Then, the team looked for a relationship between the dietary pattern and the risk of depression among the women in the study. And sure enough the results show us that a diet that promotes inflammation not only puts us at risk of heart disease, cancer and all those other diseases, it can lead to depression, too.
The Brain Warrior’s Way is designed to eliminate as much chronic inflammation in the body as possible by steering you away from the high carb foods, dairy products, processed foods, sugar, fast foods and trans fats that are to blame. There are plenty of delicious foods that can reduce inflammation, including fresh vegetables and fruit, fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, seeds and certain herbs and spices. When you eat red meat, I suggest meat from grass fed animals that are hormone free and antibiotic free. This meat is thirty percent lower in palmitic acid, the saturated fat associated with heart disease.
In The Brain Warrior’s Way, my husband Daniel and I reveal powerful techniques to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, combat depression, boost energy and focus, and improve overall health.
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