Recent studies have shown the power of our diet. Some people say “You are what you eat.” The microbiome in our gut is made up of organisms such as bacteria that affect the rest of our body. The food that we consume alters the gut flora.
Our diet can affect many different aspects of our life including mood, skin, energy level, and weight. There have been different fad diets throughout the years that focus on low carb, low fat, etc. Recently there has been a bigger push for good fats, a variety of foods, and the Mediterranean diet. Growing up with Greek heritage, I can relate to the Mediterranean diet. It is full of fish and other seafood, leafy greens, nuts, legumes, olive oil, herbs, and spices. It recommends limiting red meat.
I went to a talk by chef David Boulay at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting. He is interested in the connection between food and health. He has been working in labs in order to find high nutrient foods. Some of his super-foods include ceylon cinnamon, mushroom, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and fermented foods such as sauerkraut. His work was recently featured in the WSJ article Feed Your Head: Foods that Target Depression and Anxiety.
Certain dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods with simple sugars can lead to exacerbations in acne for some patients. Foods that increase inflammatory levels in the body can result in an imbalance of hormones and neurotransmitters. This can lead to elevated anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc, according to experts in the field.
Keep this in mind next time you are at the grocery store. Grab the olive oil instead of the butter and the salmon instead of the steak! Although keep in mind that moderation plays a key role in our diets as well.
Wall Street Journal: Feed Your Head: Foods that Target Depression and Anxiety
Mayo Clinic: Mediterranean-Diet: A Heart Healthy Eating Plan
Mayo Clinic: Acne
This article was written by Stephanie Sutton, MD, who is a contributing author to the Sutton Dermatology Blog. Stephanie Sutton is a psychiatrist and she focuses on wellness.