Do High Protein Diets Decrease Anxiety?

High protein diets have been shown to have a number of health benefits. One of these benefits may be an improvement in mental health. For example, in one study researchers fed a group of rats with either low (8 %), normal (20 %) and high (50 %) protein diets 20 weeks. The protein was in the form of casein from dairy. The results of the study showed that the high protein diet caused the rats to be more responsive in performance tests compared with low and normal protein diets. Also the rats on the high protein diet showed significantly less anxious behaviour when exposed to experimental stress. Therefore the high protein content of the diet may have altered brain function, and improved the mental performance of the rats. One explanation for this is that protein contains amino acids, particularly, L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan, that can be converted to neurotransmitters in the brain. High protein diets may therefore increase neurotransmitter synthesis and thereby increase mood and mental function. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Onaivi, E. S., Brock, J. W. and Prasad, C. 1992. Dietary protein levels alter rat behavior. Nutrition Research. 12(8): 1025-1039
Posted in Anxiety, Depression, L-tryptophan, L-tyrosine, Mood, Protein | Leave a comment

Fats For Your Brain

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Fat, Mood | Comments Off on Fats For Your Brain

Momordica charantia As An Antidepressant Herb

Momordica charantia plant used in traditional African medicine as a treatment for depression. The plant is commonly called the bitter gourd and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants. Animal studies have corroborated the historical use of the herb as a mood elevator. For example, in one study researchers administered Momordica charantia to mice one hour before exposing the animals to experimental stress. The results of the study showed that the Momordica charantia fed mice showed significantly less depressive-like behaviour when compared to control mice. The authors of this study then used chemical inhibitors to aid their understanding of the possible mechanism of action of the bitter gourd extracts. The results of this study suggested that bitter gourd may be effective at alleviating depressive-like symptoms because it was able to activate serotonergic (5-HT 2 receptor), noradrenergic (α1- and α2-adrenoceptors), dopaminergic (D2 receptor), and muscarinic cholinergic neurotransmitter  systems. 

bitter gourd mood anxiety depression

Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) may activate multiple neurotransmitter systems to cause elevations in mood, and may be an effective antidepressant.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Ishola, I. O., Akinyede, A. A. and Sholarin, A. M. 2014. Antidepressant and anxiolytic properties of the methanolic extract of Momordica charantia Linn (Cucurbitaceae) and its mechanism of action. Drug Research. 64(07) 368-376
Posted in Anxiety, Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia), Depression, Mood | Comments Off on Momordica charantia As An Antidepressant Herb

Dietary Tryptophan as a Treatment For Anxiety

Anxiety may be caused in some cases by dysfunctional serotonin synthesis. Increasing dietary intake of tryptophan may be a useful strategy in the treatment of anxiety because tryptophan is converted into serotonin. Supplemental tryptophan has been shown to increase brain levels of serotonin and this may in turn cause improvements in anxious feelings. However, as well as supplements, tryptophan within protein may also have this effect. For example, in one study, researchers administered deoiled gourd seed, a rich source of tryptophan, to a subjects suffering from social phobia. A high glycaemic index carbohydrate was also given to remove competing amino acids from the bloodstream. The results of the study showed that the protein and carbohydrate combination was significantly able to lower anxious feelings in the subjects when compared to carbohydrate alone. The dose of tryptophan from the 25 grams of gourd was 250 mg, and the carbohydrate dose was 25 grams of glucose.  

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Hudson, C., Hudson, S. and MacKenzie, J. 2007. Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 85(9): 928-932
Posted in Anxiety, Depression, L-tryptophan, Mood | Comments Off on Dietary Tryptophan as a Treatment For Anxiety

Can Vegetables Make You Fat?

Vegetables are an excellent source of nutrients and current recommendations are to consume more vegetables. Fruit is also a very good source of nutrients, and recommendations are to consume more fruit also. However, fruit and vegetables differ in one important way and that relates to the sugar content. While fruit generally contains high amounts of sugar that can include glucose, fructose and sucrose, vegetables tend to be low in sugars. This is an important distinction because sugar consumption is associated with weight gain. Therefore a healthy weight loss diet should limit fruit intake. However, with vegetables this consideration is generally not required. In fact vegetables are an excellent way to obtain the antioxidant phytochemicals found in most fruits, but without the detrimental effects of the sugar. Certain root vegetables such as potatoes contain high amounts of starch, but they are also rich in fibre and water, and when eaten in their whole food form, are unlikely to cause excessive weight gain. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Posted in Fruit, Sugar, Vegetables | Comments Off on Can Vegetables Make You Fat?

Rose Hips as A Treatment for Depression

Depression is often associated with a number of chronic diseases. Diabetes is one such disease where patients are at a higher risk of developing depression. Treatment strategies surrounding depression therefore have not only to consider the defects to the insulin system, but also any underlying mood disorders. Evidence suggests that certain phytochemicals may be useful in the treatment of depression. The rose hip tree, also called the dog rose, may be one such treatment. In one study, researchers administered post-flowering rose hip extract to diabetic mice and then exposed them to experimental stress to induce despair. The results of the study showed that the rose hip extract was able to significantly reduce the depressive-like symptoms in the animals and was also able to attenuate the reductions in memory that accompany this behaviour. Rose hip extracts may therefore be a useful treatment against mood disorders, and could potentially be used to treat depression associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes. 

rose hip mood depression anxiety

As well as reducing depressive-like symptoms in diabetic rats, rose hip extracts may also increase total antioxidant capacity in rat tissue. This in turn may reduce the levels of oxidised fats in the brains of rats. Rose hip extracts therefore have a positive effect on the brain’s tissues and may reduce the risk of long term chronic brain dysfunctions, including mood disorders.

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

Farajpour, R., Sadigh-Eteghad, S., Ahmadian, N., Farzipour, M., Mahmoudi, J. and Majdi, A. 2017. Chronic administration of Rosa canina hydro-alcoholic extract attenuates depressive-like behavior and recognition memory impairment in diabetic mice: a possible role of oxidative stress. Medical principles and practice, 26(3): 245-250
Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Mood, Rose Hips | Comments Off on Rose Hips as A Treatment for Depression

Vegan Athletes: Creatine and Beta-Alanine

Veganism can be a healthy way to eat if extreme care is taken to maximise nutrient intake. The main pitfall associated with vegan diets is that because the diets are by their nature limiting diets, they may not contain a wide enough range of foods to provide all the required essential nutrients in the correct ratios. For athletes this problem is magnified because athletes require a greater amount of certain nutrients, and some of these are present only in animal products. Creatine and beta-alanine are two substances found in meat that are required for skeletal muscle function. Some evidence suggests that although they can both be synthesised endogenously, the synthesis rates may not be adequate for optimal muscle function. As both substances are only present in animal tissue, vegans athletes may potentially be lacking in creatine and beta-alanine. Supplements of creatine and beta-alanine may therefore be necessary in order to provide optimal skeletal muscle function in vegan athletes. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, protect Yourself

RdB

Posted in Beta Alanine, Creatine, Vegetarian | Comments Off on Vegan Athletes: Creatine and Beta-Alanine

Arnica for Inflammation

Posted in Arnica, Inflammation | Comments Off on Arnica for Inflammation

Chinese Angelica (Angelica sinensis)

Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Mood | Comments Off on Chinese Angelica (Angelica sinensis)

Misrepresenting The Fat Content of Foods

Food labeling is more complex than it may first appear. One aspect of food labelling that can be misinterpreted is regarding the fat content. Fat is a group of hydrocarbon chemicals that contain 9 calories per gram when oxidised. This is in comparison to the 3.75 calories for carbohydrate and 4.1 calories for protein. Fat is therefore a more dense source of energy than either carbohydrates or protein, containing more than twice as much energy. Some food labels measure fat content as a percentage of the total. For example, a particular food may be labelled as 5 % fat and 20 % protein per 100 grams. On the face of it this food may not appear to contain a large amount of fat compared to protein. However, if we convert the percentage figures to energy, then the food contains roughly 45 calories of fat per 100 grams and 82 calories of protein per 100 grams. Therefore around one third of the energy in the food is fat, despite the fact that the label stated correctly that the food was just 5 % fat. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, protect Yourself

RdB

Posted in Fat, Protein | Comments Off on Misrepresenting The Fat Content of Foods