2

votes

What do you think is the optimal diet for mental health?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 08, 2011 at 11:29 AM

  • what foods to include
  • macronutrient composition

love to hear your thoughts :)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 08, 2011
at 08:31 PM

Interesting, Marcela. I've been keto for over four years now (closer to five, really), and other than that one experience with the bread, I've had no relapses. Glad you found what works for you.

Cfa2637d1b6ec288d32379de06415792

(235)

on December 08, 2011
at 07:53 PM

I agree that a ketogenic diet improve the symptoms AT FIRST. But if I keep that for too long, depression strikes back. In my case, eating paleo, especially ditching wheat, and keeping carbss 70gr - 120gr per day works very well.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 08, 2011
at 07:10 PM

You should start a fast food place--with arches made of antlers, bones, etc., and we can call it the Bony Arches.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on December 08, 2011
at 05:34 PM

Exactly what I meant Kelly.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 08, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Bahaha. Toys are good, yes.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I agree, Dave. In my case, when I went zero-carb, although it helped me a great deal with other issues, it had no noticeable bearing on my mental/emotional issues; ketogenic and grain-free seemed to be the keys for me. OTOH, a couple of people here have reported mental health improvements only after going XLC/ZC. For example, see Ambimorph's response here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/47504/did-going-paleo-get-you-off-the-anti-depressants/47699#47699

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Agreed. As long as there are no severe mental health problems. If there are, a ketogenic diet should be tried. Which doesn't have to be VLC... The Jaminet's discuss how to do it.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:34 PM

A ketogenic diet does seem to improve mental health for those with specific issues - depression, ADHD, Bipolar, Epilepsy, etc. And a ketogenic diet can be accomplished at PHD level carbs by using MCT oil, leucine & lysine.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:16 PM

You know, "a sparse amount of carbohydrates" does not mean zero carb. Compared to the SAD, 75 grams of carbohydrates is sparse. And I agree as well.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Yes. We really need to get over the myth that the mind and body are somehow separate.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on December 08, 2011
at 02:47 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw9oX-kZ_9k +1

244e1f82efb3fd15d2da39397488fb24

(549)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:35 PM

I agree, but I'm no longer on the low-carb wagon since going paleo - if we are healthy and can manage decent homeostasis and leptin sensitivity and decent, level, blood sugar levels, then the brain will be fine. I do agree with the protein and fats - amino acids are essential for neuraltranmitters and mood, and (saturated) fats are what the brain is mostly made of (dry matter).

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:34 PM

Undoing a downvote. This is also what I consider to be good for mental health.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on December 08, 2011
at 01:07 PM

A diet that doesn't give me ups and downs from sugar highs and lows is already good enough for me. Keeps my mood even steven so I can focus on mental work.

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8 Answers

12
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 08, 2011
at 01:17 PM

The same as is good for all other aspects of health.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Yes. We really need to get over the myth that the mind and body are somehow separate.

11
D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on December 08, 2011
at 01:03 PM

I would say an optimal diet for mental health has plenty of fat, a good amount of protein, and a sparse amount of carbohydrates.

F0e558010a2ecb31fa37b7c491596b8e

(3850)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:16 PM

You know, "a sparse amount of carbohydrates" does not mean zero carb. Compared to the SAD, 75 grams of carbohydrates is sparse. And I agree as well.

Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

(2297)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:34 PM

Undoing a downvote. This is also what I consider to be good for mental health.

244e1f82efb3fd15d2da39397488fb24

(549)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:35 PM

I agree, but I'm no longer on the low-carb wagon since going paleo - if we are healthy and can manage decent homeostasis and leptin sensitivity and decent, level, blood sugar levels, then the brain will be fine. I do agree with the protein and fats - amino acids are essential for neuraltranmitters and mood, and (saturated) fats are what the brain is mostly made of (dry matter).

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Agreed. As long as there are no severe mental health problems. If there are, a ketogenic diet should be tried. Which doesn't have to be VLC... The Jaminet's discuss how to do it.

D117467bf8e8472464ece2b81509606c

(2873)

on December 08, 2011
at 05:34 PM

Exactly what I meant Kelly.

10
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:27 PM

I've been diagnosed with clinical depression and Bipolar II disorder, and had been taking an anti-depressant plus an anti-seizure medication that's often prescribed for bipolar. When I first went very low-carb (<30 grams carb/day) in April 2007, I felt different immediately, and after a couple of months, decided to try to wean myself off my meds. Every week I reduced my daily dosage by one-eighth, until I was down to zero. I've never gone back.

The one time I saw a return of depressive symptoms, I had been experimenting with Kwasniewski's Optimal Diet, and had added in a slice of rye bread every day to meet the carb requirement (IIRC, it was 60g or so a day, much higher than I'd been eating). I immediately began to show symptoms. When I realized what was happening (after 5 days), I substituted a boiled potato for the bread, and like magic, the symptoms disappeared. In my case, it's clear that something in the bread -- lectins? gluten? -- was triggering depressive episodes.

There's a fair amount of research, much of it still rather "squishy," on the mental health benefits of a ketogenic diet. It's certainly worked wonders for me.

ETA: Specific food recommendations? Plenty of fats, including medium-chain triglycerides (coconut oil, for example). Minimal sugars, and no bread whatsoever. Your choice of proteins; I tend to eat on the high-fat, low-protein side.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:34 PM

A ketogenic diet does seem to improve mental health for those with specific issues - depression, ADHD, Bipolar, Epilepsy, etc. And a ketogenic diet can be accomplished at PHD level carbs by using MCT oil, leucine & lysine.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 08, 2011
at 08:31 PM

Interesting, Marcela. I've been keto for over four years now (closer to five, really), and other than that one experience with the bread, I've had no relapses. Glad you found what works for you.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:44 PM

I agree, Dave. In my case, when I went zero-carb, although it helped me a great deal with other issues, it had no noticeable bearing on my mental/emotional issues; ketogenic and grain-free seemed to be the keys for me. OTOH, a couple of people here have reported mental health improvements only after going XLC/ZC. For example, see Ambimorph's response here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/47504/did-going-paleo-get-you-off-the-anti-depressants/47699#47699

Cfa2637d1b6ec288d32379de06415792

(235)

on December 08, 2011
at 07:53 PM

I agree that a ketogenic diet improve the symptoms AT FIRST. But if I keep that for too long, depression strikes back. In my case, eating paleo, especially ditching wheat, and keeping carbss 70gr - 120gr per day works very well.

3
244e1f82efb3fd15d2da39397488fb24

(549)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:33 PM

There are lots of good "brain" foods, mostly protein and fat-based foods help, but I won't write about that today as it is fairly common language and I'm positive someone has mentioned it already, or will soon.

I want to talk about the fact that the "second brain" is the gut - the GI tract. It is also the main immune system. Many people have no idea how much our bodies rely on our guts. I am researching the GAPS diet - Gut And Psychology/Physiology Syndrome that Dr. Natasha Campbell MacBride has extensively researched - I will provide a link to a video of her speaking at the Wise Traditions conference.

Youtube series with guide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQi2ieuJQBc

Just her on the stage: http://vimeo.com/10507542

1
Medium avatar

on December 08, 2011
at 04:59 PM

I continue to feel the best meals for mental health are the ones that come with little toys. I was temporarily impressed with the dietary proposals of Wolf, Sisson, and Cordain. But nothing they advocate comes with toys that make me happy. Happy Meals. Back to the Golden Arches, for yours truly.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 08, 2011
at 07:10 PM

You should start a fast food place--with arches made of antlers, bones, etc., and we can call it the Bony Arches.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on December 08, 2011
at 05:07 PM

Bahaha. Toys are good, yes.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:22 PM

With the qualifier that diet cannot overcome sleep deprivation, I've been amazed at the calming effect of water kefir by which I mean the calming effect of improved gut status.

I should say that the water kefir was added to a menu already containing ample protein/fat and moderate veggie and fruits so I don't think of it as a singular remedy.

After 64 years of a fidgety, restless mind and nervous, temperamental digestion I find myself calm, with a GI tract so quiet it's spooking me out. My pulse has dropped at least 10 beats per minute. My mind is following my body--I'll never be a placid person but I am more "level" than I've ever experienced.

Since the only menu change during the time my physical/mental improvements occurred was the water kefir I'm thinking that my gut was out of whack and the kefir has helped it significantly.

1
082bf04a7486991c5e573a66f1404b3e

on December 08, 2011
at 02:21 PM

Lots of saturated fats, fish oils, and adequate amounts of carbohydrates (say 80-100g). This is pretty basic as an opinion; but I'm afraid I'm not an expert!

As far as Im aware protein is non-essential for the brain, but obviously its a good idea to have some :P

0
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:02 PM

A diet that is very high in sugars and adequate essential nutrients.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on December 08, 2011
at 02:47 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw9oX-kZ_9k +1

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