Data from NHS Digital showed that 70.9 million prescriptions for antidepressants were given out in 2018, compared with 36 million in 2008 1. Even more alarmingly, the statistics showed that 23% more patients received an antidepressant item in the third quarter of 2020–2021 compared to the same quarter in 2015–2016 2.
Clearly, there is a huge problem ……. but the good news is that there are many things we can do that may help to improve our resilience and protect our mental health. Research is beginning to show that our diet and lifestyle choices can have a big impact. In fact, there is a burgeoning discipline called nutritional psychiatry with a small but growing body of evidence behind the gut-brain connection.
It has long been proposed that eating the Mediterranean diet may offer protection against various health complaints including depression. It was not until 2017, however, that the SMILES trial 3 was able to demonstrate a more direct relationship between food and mood. During the trial, a group of adults with moderate depression were allocated randomly to two groups. One group received seven sessions of individual dietary advice and support from a dietician based around eating the Mediterranean diet, while the other group received seven social support sessions. After 12 weeks, the dietary advice group had significantly reduced their depression symptoms and by significantly more than the social support group.
Several more studies have subsequently demonstrated improvements in depression or anxiety scores after a Mediterranean dietary approach was instituted – with bigger benefits seen in moderate to severe depression compared to mild depression.
An inflammatory mechanism is one theory for what causes mental health disorders, in fact some scientists are now questioning whether antidepressant medications such as SSRIS may primarily be beneficial because they have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain. Interestingly, the plentiful coloured plant pigments, high fibre content and omega-3 fats in the Mediterranean diet all add up to a powerful anti-inflammatory cocktail which helps to combat the raised inflammatory markers that are often observed in people with depression and anxiety.
In addition to being anti-inflammatory, the low content of sugar and refined carbohydrates in the Mediterranean diet supports better blood sugar balance. Having poorly controlled blood sugar levels or a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are both known risk factors for developing depression or other mental health disorders 4.
Plant fibre is important for good gut health – and there is increasing evidence for the link between gut health and brain health. Gut microbes produce chemicals that can act directly on the brain to influence mood and it is clear from animal studies that changing the pattern of gut microbes can influence behaviour. It is also a little-known fact that the gut makes large quantities of the same neurotransmitters that are used in the brain - although it is currently unclear exactly how these may be acting on the brain. Eating a Mediterranean diet is certainly associated with having a much more diverse and healthier pattern of gut microbes.
Finally, the quality protein from fish and white meat provides essential amino acids and other nutrients that the body needs to make neurotransmitters without high levels of the more inflammatory fats that are found in red meat and dairy products.
So, what does it all add up to?
Following these few simple dietary rules may help to increase your resilience and lower your risk for developing mental health problems.
Future articles will cover the importance of lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep, stress and social connection on mental health.
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”. Mark Twain
Starting your day on a positive note, sets you up perfectly for the rest of the day.
Having the right morning routine will help especially if you are looking to make changes in your lifestyle or looking to achieve optimum performance.
If you can follow a consistent and predictable sleep routine and regular mealtimes as well as being consistent with your exercise, you will give yourself a better chance at improving your quality of life!
Try this simple stretch routine, it’s a great way to start your day!
We are now offering 3 studio based classes each week, but due to Covid restrictions class size will be limited to 6 people and will have to be booked in advance via https://www.personalbeststudio.co.uk/book-classes.html#tmup=/p/3515255-personal-best/
To take part in these classes, you will need to register with Team Up, as all bookings and payments will go through this app (we suggest you book several weeks in advance, as they can always cancel up to 24 hours before without charge).
Online classes will continue, but the number of classes have been reduced.
THURSDAY 12-1PM CIRCUITS (TOM)
FRIDAY 12-1PM CIRCUITS (TOM)
FRIDAY 1-2PM STRETCH CLASS (JAMES)
MONDAY 12-12.30 STRETCH CLASS (CARL)
WEDNESDAY 12-12.30 STRETCH CLASS (CARL)
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In his spare time, he enjoys exploring the Cotswolds, listening to music, practicing yoga and “rounding off the day with a good mug of tea”.
Moving to Gloucestershire from London with his young family for a better quality of life, Karl can maintain his online clients plus join the team at Personal Best.
When not working or looking after their baby boy, he loves cycling, tennis, snowboarding and cooking delicious food.
Salacia Baldwin has joined our reception team and will be with us on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week. Salacia is a Yoga teacher and maker of Vegan Cakes! We hope to be able to offer one of her classes in the autumn and maybe get to sample her delicious cakes.
This recipe features in our book which I am delighted to say is on the printing press as I type! Hope you enjoy making it.
Thanks to everyone who has pre ordered a book, we have now sold over 200 copies. As this is self-funded, we will be looking to generate as many pre orders as possible to cover, photography, design, and print. PRE ORDER HERE https://www.inspiredcookbook.co.uk/
Thanks for your support.
Please feel free to share this link and if you know anybody who is able to help or support this project, or might like the book for Christmas, please pass on their details to me
Each competitor will have a back story that many of us will never comprehend. Not just the sacrifices for 4 years (5 years this time around because of Covid), but the physical, mental, and emotional depths they must dive to secure their place in Tokyo. The added pressures of bubbles, isolation plus the absence of family and cheering fans must take some of the gloss away from the experience.
Just as the ancient Olympic Games were primarily a religious festival in honour of Zeus, the father of the Greek gods and goddesses held in Olympia, these games are a celebration and a festival which bring hope, create dreams, and inspire so many people across the globe.
The next two hundred years saw peaks and troughs in popularity but the core activities, athletics, throwing, jumping, wrestling, horse racing and of course eating and drinking remained. Gambling of many types and fortune telling appeared from time to time, and music was ever present.
The games still take place and the next one is scheduled for 3rd June 2022. https://www.olimpickgames.co.uk/
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