The effect of food on the brain

Why are we surprised that what we put into our bodies affects our minds? As a society in the UK we seem to vaguely grasp that what we eat can make us ill, and we (almost) accept that a lack of nutrients can cause problems, but we balk when it comes to the mental aspect. Most of us understand that chemicals affect our minds, moods and brains, but why can’t we accept that those chemicals and hormones are influenced by the food our body consumes?

It’s not only junk food either! Sure, sugar, processed foods and a lack of nutrients affect the chemistry and therefore your moods and emotions, but a food sensitivity can wreak havoc too. By the way, a food sensitivity is not the same as a food allergy. You cannot test for a sensitivity in the same was as you do for an allergy.  With a food sensitivity you are often addicted to the very foods that are causing the problem and they do not give an allergic or immediate reaction. In fact, they often make you feel better for a short while. Their effect is much longer term and the only way to really discover whether you have a food intolerance is to to an elimination diet. (You are welcome to email me and I will send you more information on how to go about this.)

If you do some research on the internet or do some serious reading, you will find hundreds of examples of how food causes hyper-activity, learning problems, depression, mood swings, anxieties and even schizophrenia!

Yet even the medical profession doesn’t really bother much about nutrition and many GPs poo-poo the idea of food sensitivities / intolerances. Fortunately more and more are being enlightened as they do their own research and discover that there is really something to this! There are quite a few doctors who have written brilliant books, opened clinics to help people in this important health area (mainly in the U.S.A – but there are some if you look carefully).

Useful Contacts in the UK and other links:

Action Against Allergy (AAA) is a registered national charity founded in 1978 by Mrs Amelia Nathan Hill who solved chronic health problems since her childhood by following the advice of Dr Richard MacKarness regarding food sensitivities.

Hyperactive Children’s Support Group:
The Hyperactive Children’s Support Group is a registered charity which has been successfully helping ADHD/Hyperactive children and their families for over 25 years. The HACSG is Britain’s leading proponent of a dietary approach to the problem of hyperactivity. Although it has to be said that you should read other material as well, (as suggested above) as there could be more benefit from their diets than the Feingold Diet as advocated by this group.

Food Intolerance Network Independent information about the effects of food on behaviour, health and learning ability in both children and adults. It is a brilliant site, full of useful information!

For Doctors:
The British Society for Allergy and Environmental Medicine is an organisation for doctors interested in food intolerance, chemical sensitivity and related matters. The British Society for Allergy and Environmental Medicine was founded in 1983 to provide a forum for doctors interested in the role of allergy and environmental factors in chronic illness. (they do not deal with enquiries from the general public).