The Link Between Food And Behaviour
“Food and nutrition have always been considered extremely crucial for improving physical and physiological health”
Food And Behaviour
There has been increasing prevalence of depression, suicidal and anti social behaviour all around the globe. Developmental disorders like attention deficit hyperactive disorder, dyslexia, Asperger syndrome, autism etc. are also on the rise and proper nutrition can help improve these conditions, as food and nutrition have always been considered extremely crucial for improving physical and physiological health. However, food has rarely been given adequate value for its contribution to mental health and hence, behaviour and demeanour.
Significance Of Nutrition During Gestation
Nevertheless, most of how ones demeanour is likely to be, depends on the nutrition received during gestation, as the central nervous system begins to develop in the early stages of pregnancy and continues for at least two years of life. Also, there is enough evidence to suggest that a mothers diet significantly influences the rate and quality of brain development.
Few Striking Facts
- Poor breakfast has been linked to poor memory and attention deficit, culminating in poor performance, especially in children.
- Food additives/azo dyes like tartrazine and sunset yellow have been reported to cause hyperactivity in children.
- High omega 6 content in the diet may trigger anti-social and violent behavior. In the UK, since omega 6 has increased in the diet, homicides have Increased fourfold.
Top 5 Dietary Guidelines That Can Improve Demeanour
- A breakfast that is low in glycemic index (high proteins, moderate fats and complex carbohydrates – whole wheat, millets and vegetables) has shown to improve memory and attention span in children during school. A complex carbohydrate-rich meal stimulates serotonin synthesis which induces calmness and relaxation. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid also acts as a precursor for serotonin synthesis.
- The brain is predominantly made of fat. Hence, essential fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are important in brain development as these fatty acids help in maintaining the fluidity of brain constituents, enable cell signaling and protect neuronal activity. A deficiency of these, has been linked to developmental disorders, depression as well as schizophrenia. Thus, it’s vital to include oily fish, walnuts and flaxseeds in the diet regularly.
- Children under two years of age with iron deficiency show problems with language, motor skills, mood and attention. Thus, iron-rich foods such as meat, nuts and oilseeds, dates, beetroot etc, need to be incorporated in required quantities (18-21 mg/day).
- Low concentrations of zinc have been linked to hyperactive violent behaviour, due to its role in serotonin action. Therefore, adequate zinc from nuts, oilseeds and a variety of cereals should be consumed.
- Also, the consumption of sugar-dense foods including candies, colas, dessert should be limited and food additives and sweeteners should be restricted.