Diet can improve more than just your mood

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A healthy salad full of numerous different veggies. Eating healthier unprocessed foods can have a big impact on more than just your mood.  Photo by    Nadine Primeau    on    Unsplash

A healthy salad full of numerous different veggies. Eating healthier unprocessed foods can have a big impact on more than just your mood. Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

With everything going on, it’s important to stay healthy. It can feel like a lot of things are out of our hands, but food remains something which we can still — in some capacity — control. We have known for a while now that the food we eat impacts our mood. However, recent studies have found food to have an even larger impact on our functionality than just temperament. 

The documentary “The Magic Pill” followed the lives of several people as they underwent a real-life experiment with their diet. The aim simply was to eat non-processed, whole foods for ten weeks straight. The technical term they threw out occasionally was “Keto.” But it has been endearingly nicknamed the “Caveman Diet,” and I’d prefer to use that term for its unhampered realism. The hypothesis of this experiment — which still has yet to be proven — states that saturated fats cause heart disease. The people involved in this experiment had a plethora of physical and mental ailments, ranging from diabetes to autism to cancer. Each person experienced a form of stabilization or partial remission. One patient with early onset dementia lost 40 pounds by the end of the first five weeks, and stopped taking her pain meds, explaining that her intense migraines had entirely dissipated. Another patient with non-verbal autism was able to feed himself after only the first five days, and later improved even more in his independence and self-care skills. He was also able to articulate — in full sentences — his fears and joys. A cancer patient with aggressive, metastatic breast cancer diminished the size of her tumor without chemotherapy or radiotherapy. She simply followed the ketogenic diet, but with her own little spin. She aimed to eat 80% healthy fats, 10-14% protein, and no more than 12g of carbs per day. This kind of eating alone prodded her toward partial remission. 

It seemed to indicate that there might be something wrong with the food pyramid, and that it should be flipped. At the very top should be grains and cereals, and at the bottom should be fats and oils. Even though the food pyramid has since been replaced by the plate, this newer version still seems to be lacking. It is ambiguous in its proportions, seeming to have equal parts of fruits, grains, vegetables, protein and dairy. The plate seems to be a bit careless, even more so than the food pyramid, which at least indicates portions (even if they aren’t proper). It’s true that all of this, at the end of the day, is largely speculation. The documentary found a lot of evidence that clean eating can improve and stabilize a variety of adverse conditions. Nothing has been proven, but it might be worth a shot — while we’re all trapped at home — to try eating clean foods: unsaturated, unprocessed foods. With everything going on, anything can help. And if diet can help with anxiety, stress and other physical ailments, why not give it a try? The “Caveman” way certainly won’t be easy, especially for lovers of junk food, but the effect it can have will definitely taste just as sweet.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.

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Samantha Bertolini is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at samantha.bertolini@uconn.edu.

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