A healthy diet should include a wide variety of whole, unprocessed foods that are free of additives and grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and other potentially toxic agricultural chemicals. Whole foods provide nutrients that are essential for wellness and vitality, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
The role of inflammation in health and wellbeing highlights the potential for nutrition to regulate the inflammatory pathways. Acute inflammation is an immunologically mediated process that is necessary for repair and healing. However, chronic inflammation can lead to tissue damage, increased morbidity and increased mortality. An upregulated inflammatory state can cause: cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, depression, arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease (1)(2). Chronic inflammation is mediated by a variety of lifestyle factors, including diet.
Research has indicted a link between inflammatory bowel disease and anxiety and depression in both children and adults (3). Aside from nutritive and digestive activities, gut microbiota are involved in immunological processes, central nervous system function, and energy homeostasis. An altered gut microbiome has been associated with the pathophysiology of different diseases, including depression. Environmental factors (diet, antibiotic use, and infections) influence the gut microbiome, modulating the risk for depression. It has been shown that early life disruption of the microbiome–gut–brain (MGB) axis is associated with an increased risk of developing depression later in life, suggesting a link between gut microbiome, neurodevelopment, and depression (4). A whole foods diet provides protection against the onset of depressive symptoms (5) and plant based diets have a therapeutic impact on mental health and depression (6).
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