“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” wrote the eminent Greek physician Hippocrates during the dawn of western medicine. We took his advice. Thousands of years later we use chicken soup to nourish our bodies, yet we question whether the right food choices can heal our mind. Some people are sure.
Inspired by personal experience, Amanda Geary founded the UK's Food and Mood Project in 1998. “I started the Food and Mood Project following from my own experience of recovery from depression where I noticed that what I was eating was having an effect on my emotional and mental health,“ says Geary. “In 1998 I won an award from Mind, the UK's leading mental health charity, to start the Project and help others to explore the links between what we eat and how we feel.”
The Food and Mood Project is extensive. Geary's fascination with the relationship between nutrition and mind has prompted a website, www.foodandmood.org, online support group, handbook, posters and large-scale survey. This recruited 200 individuals between the ages of 26 and 55 who lived in London or SE England. The results were substantial. Says Geary: “From the Food and Mood Survey results, those using this form of self-help found that cutting down or avoiding potential food stressors like sugar (80%), caffeine (79%), alcohol (55%) and chocolate (53%) and having more food supporters like water (80%), vegetables (78%), fruit (72%) and oil rich fish (52%) had the most beneficial effects on mental health.”
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