February 23, 2024

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“Our way of eating affects mental health.”

“Our way of eating affects mental health.”

Ramon de Cangas (Oviedo, 1975) has been dedicated to nutrition for twenty years. Through his consultations, he takes a look at his patients' diets and analyzes the changes in the way our society eats. He has now published Eat and Be Happy, a book in which he links mental health and diet.

– What prompted you to write about nutrition and mental health?

– There are more and more scientific studies that refer to the concept of nutritional psychiatry. This is because evidence shows how the way we eat can affect our mental health, and diseases such as depression and anxiety, directly and through different substances found in food. And also indirectly through the intestines and through our intestinal microorganisms.

-And this is because we eat worse and worse?

-There are different hypotheses trying to explain why. One of them is the microbiota hypothesis, which says that the fact that dietary changes have been so rapid has prevented our intestinal microbiota from adapting and that this has a series of consequences, for example, leading to digestive disorders, as well as other types of problems such as Autoimmune diseases and more mental health problems.

– What is the relationship between mental and intestinal diseases?

Depression, anxiety and other diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome are diseases that are often linked, and when changes in microorganisms are studied, because in both types of diseases there are similar changes.

-You mentioned dietary changes, what changes are you considering?

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-Although we talk about continuing to follow the Mediterranean diet, the Mediterranean style has been abandoned. We can say that we have abandoned the consumption of complex or whole food matrices and the consumption of ultra-processed foods has increased dramatically.

-Can someone who suffers from illnesses such as depression or anxiety overcome them by paying attention to their diet?

– What the evidence shows is that the way they eat is important for people with anxiety or depression, and should be taken into account. If a person suffering from these problems eats poorly, his condition worsens. It is important that you eat the right amount and also have good nutritional status. For example, excess body fat generates a number of metabolic changes that can help or hinder depression. Loss of muscle mass can also be a negative. There are clinical trials in which it has been proven that the use of probiotics of certain strains in diseases such as depression allows to obtain significant results in most symptoms.

-Are people aware of this branch?

Society in general does not take this concept into consideration much. When people are depressed, they usually don't think that the way they eat can help treat their illness.