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Changing Diets, Changing Minds
Tuesday, 24 January 2006

The food campaign group Sustain ( the alliance for better food and farming ) and the Mental Health Foundation have produced an excellent report, Changing Diets, Changing Minds, looking at the link between poor diet and mental health.

The report covers issues such as ADHD, depression and Alzheimer's disease and is well referenced with reputable clinical research.

The link is firmly established that diet can significantly influence mental health.

The whole report can be down loaded via www.sustainweb.org


Source: Nutrition Review January 2006

Beetroot - the new "mood food"
Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Beetroot with its intense purple colour has long been established as an important source of antioxidants, making it an increasingly  popular choice with consumers.  Sales figures for this distinctive vegetable have apparently doubled over the past year.

Research has also indicated that beetroot contains betaine, a compound thought to relax the mind and help with depression.


Source: Nutrition Review January 2006

Fat Intake Influences Cognitive Function
Wednesday, 02 November 2005

A retrospective trial has shown that a high intake of PUFA's ( polyunsaturated fatty acids ) may help school-aged children perform better on key cognitive functioning tests ( digit span test ).

Total fat and saturated fat intakes were unrelated to measures of cognitive and psychosocial functioning, but an increased intake of cholesterol may be associated with a poorer performance of the digit span test.


SOURCE: Food and Behaviour research (www.fabresearch.org ) November 2005

Eating Fish Makes Brainy Babies
Friday, 14 October 2005

A recent study, by Harvard University, has shown that babies born to mothers who ate plenty of fish during pregnancy perfomed better in cognitive functioning tests at age 6 months.

These tests correlate to IQ in later life. It is suggested that fish contains high amounts of beneficial nutrients, particularly the omega 3 fats which may play a critical role in neurocognitive development.

The study also measured the levels of mercury found in the women and found that the infants who scored highest on cognitive tests were those whose mothers ate more fish but had low levels of mercury (hair analysis).

Current recommendations do caution pregnant women about the risk of pollutants found in fish, such as  mercury and PCB's, advising them to limit their intake of oily fish ( 2/ week) and to avoid swordfish, shark or marlin.

This new research concludes that the optimum benefit is associated with consumption of fish that are high in omega 3 fats but have lower levels of mercury, such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

If you need more advice on what to safely eat during pregnancy, please contact This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

You may also find the faq section useful (' what about the toxins found in fish ?' ).

Source: Food and Behaviour Research website www.fabresearch.org

Updated October 2006 

Sleep Deprivation & Attention Disorders
Friday, 16 September 2005

An article in The Guardian newspaper recently outlined the growing concern that a proportion of children diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD) may actually be suffering from sleep deprivation.

Apparently, a recent study has shown that reducing children's sleep from 10 to 9 hours a night had a marked effect on working memory and verbal task ability, in addition to making children irritable and 'oppositional'.  Stephen Sheldon, Director of the Sleep Medicine Centre at Chicago's Chidren's Memorial Hospital reckons that as many as 30% of children have been wrongly diagnosed.  However, many doctors believe that disordered sleep is a consequence of ADHD, not a cause of it.

The association between sleep and attention disorders is strong but which is the cause and which is the effect remains unclear.

( Source: The Guardian July 2005 )


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