Just when you think you've learned all there is to know about nutrition, you unearth information that gives you a moment of "Ah-Hah!" Today, we are sharing an amazing question and answer session with Delia McCabe, once a psychologist and nutritional neuroscience specialist, who delves into the link between nutrition and her brain.
Delia McCabe lost her enthusiasm for the "speech cure" after completing her master's degree in psychology. She had discovered that what you eat affects the function of your brain and that until the brain is well fed, no amount of conversation will make it work properly. For almost two decades, he has immersed himself in the fascinating world of nutrition and the brain and offers a focused and insightful approach, based on solid science, on how specific foods can improve his mood, concentration, memory and ability to learn, as well as reduce stress.
Food Matters: What made you understand the connection between nutrition and mental health?
While completing my master's degree in psychology, I worked with a group of very intelligent school children. They were very capable of getting good grades, but they were all very bad at school. They also suffered from other psychological problems, such as anxiety and even depression. My research was based on what psychological variables could be used to motivate them and help them achieve according to their potential. I had an additional space in one of the questionnaires I had designed for them and I asked them the question: "What is your favorite food?" The answers amazed me, and in comparison to the control group, (a group of children who were smart and did well in school), it was even more surprising. All children who were underperforming loved junk food, while the other group did not. This changed the course of my research and gave me a passion that would not have been there if I had not asked that simple question.
Food matters: are people surprised and curious when they discover what their area of research is?
I am surprised at how many times people tell me that when they eat certain foods they feel anxious, nervous or even depressed. It is as if realizing that this is a valid area of scientific research, they can talk about how they really feel. And they are very curious about which foods would help them feel calm, more focused and prevent them from experiencing cognitive deterioration. Many people are also surprised that the information I have provided to them is not provided by their doctors. Some really get angry for not having known before. I have seen many reactions that used to surprise me, but now I wait for them.
Food issues: What is one of the most important knowledge you have learned in life at this time of your health discovery?
It was a real epiphany for me to realize that the brain, being our most greedy organ, when well nourished, will allow the rest of the body to flourish. As the primary "survival" organ, it will take nutrients first, in a certain sense, and then let the rest of our body struggle to stay well if there are not enough nutrients for everyone. It made perfect sense to me that by feeding the brain optimally, the rest of the body could also benefit. And, if you bear in mind that a malnourished brain will make bad decisions throughout the process, it is quite disturbing to realize that a hungry brain will lead to a poor quality of life on many different levels.
Food matters: What is the biggest mistake I would like to clarify about mental health?
This is a good question, and I will have to choose some. But the winner is that most people do not take into account the fact that what they eat every day has a short and long term impact on the functioning of their brain, mood, memory, learning and the ability to be alert and focused. Every day, the brain requires raw materials both for the operation and for the maintenance of the structure. People assume they are getting the right nutrients for those incredibly complex and super important tasks. But over time, the brain not only becomes less and less efficient in performing the tasks we take for granted, but it also becomes less and less able to remain structurally sound. What we eat affects our brain in a real and profound way.
Another important point is that many people are still confused about fats and oils, and this is another big mistake that I love to clarify. The right fats are essential for optimal health, and without them, nothing you can do can compensate for their absence. When people begin to consume the right fats and oils, and eliminate the bad ones from their diet, their health can improve so quickly and deeply, that sometimes it seems like magic!
Food issues: What are some of the most important nutrients that people need to consume to have a healthy brain?
The brain, composed of 60% fat in its dry weight, needs the right type of fat to function optimally. A large percentage of this fat is made up of specialized omega-3 and -6 fats. Unfortunately, these fats are also very delicate. This means that many of these fats that people consume today are damaged. Organic nuts and seeds, and undamaged oils, as well as lots of green leafy vegetables, provide omega-3 and omega-6. Most people get enough omega-6, albeit in a damaged form. Therefore, if you focus on the omega-3 fatty acids found in ground flax seeds and chia seeds, as well as in the undamaged fatty acid mixtures of essential oils, you will be supplying large, undamaged fats to your brain. In addition, unrefined carbohydrates provide a constant blood glucose for a greedy brain, and clean protein provides the production of enzymes and hormones and the basis of brain messengers, the neurotransmitters.
Food matters: what role does stress play in causing brain damage?
We all live in an overwhelming world, and the brain receives a great "blow" with the stress we experience in increasing amounts. Why? Our brain evolved to respond quickly and efficiently to any threat to our survival. We could flee very quickly from our threat, we could stay and fight to survive or we could stay very, very still, and hope to be avoided. Today, we rarely do any of those things. We sit down and worry about the traffic, we wait centuries to solve the problems over which we have no control, or we engage in senseless but stressful interactions online.
Our brain can not distinguish the difference between a real physical threat and a perceived psychological one. And, therefore, we do not get rid of the naturally occurring compounds, like the adrenaline that the brain uses to stimulate us to physical activity, because everything happens in our brain and there is nothing physical to do about it. Unfortunately, cortisol, which occurs when adrenaline has been circulating for a while, is very damaging to the brain, since it prevents brain cells (neurons) from communicating with each other effectively and interrupts the production process of energy inside the cell. Over time, the excess production of cortisol leads to neuronal death, which is not a positive thing, in addition to stopping the growth of new neurons.
How has food helped you heal naturally? Share your story with us below!
Delia turned her back on conventional conversation therapy after completing her master's degree in psychology. Since then, he has immersed himself in the fascinating world of nutrition and the brain and offers a focused, insightful and science-backed approach to how specific foods can improve his mood, concentration, memory and learning ability, as well as Help him to stay calm and happy. Our busy, overwhelming and stressful world. Delia is currently completing her PhD, which focuses on the neurological effect of specific nutrients on female stress, and her two books "Feed your brain: 7 steps to a lighter, brighter!" And "Feed your brain: The cookbook" are available in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Get more information about Delia by visiting her website. www.lby.life
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