Getting the right nutrition can be a transformative thing. When you are deficient in nutrients and minerals it can cause a whole host of health problems.
What you may not know is that deficiencies can also be found responsible for, or at least play a part in, several mood disorders.
According to a study by the Linus Pauling Institute, “Good nutritional status is important for proper brain development and maintenance of normal cognitive function. Through unique biological functions, various micronutrients affect brain function.”
For example “Vitamin C accumulates in the central nervous system, with neurons of the brain having especially high levels. In addition to its well-known antioxidant functions, vitamin C has a number of non-antioxidant functions. For instance, the vitamin is required for enzymatic reaction that synthesizes the neurotransmitter norepinephrine from dopamine.”
Also, “deficiencies in select micronutrients, mainly certain B vitamins, have been linked to depression. Thus, micronutrient supplementation, especially in individuals with overt or marginal deficiencies, could possibly improve overall mood state and psychological well-being. Most studies discussed in this section were conducted in healthy individuals. It is important to note that mood state is commonly assessed by self-rating scales, such as self-administered questionnaires, which are not objective measurements.”
Is it any surprise then, that when changes are made to the diet it can affect your mood to the point of changing your behavior?
In 2003 for the students of Appleton Central High School in Wisconsin, this point has radically changed the atmosphere of the entire school. Appleton Central High School decided to completely change their school meals and vending machine options. They got rid of sugary drink options, and introduced bread options without additives, dyes, artificial preservatives, and saturated fats. Additionally they added a salad bar full of whole food options and began serving lean meats not cooked in fat. The results were astounding.
In 2003 , ABC interviewed the staff of Appleton Central High School, and this is what they had to say.
“I can say without hesitation that it’s changed my job as a principal,” said LuAnn Coenen. “Since we’ve started this program, I have had zero weapons on campus, zero expulsions from the school, zero premature deaths or suicides, zero drugs or alcohol on campus. Those are major statistics.”
“Since the introduction of the food program, I have noticed an enormous difference in the behavior of my students in the classroom,” said teacher Mary Bruyette. “They’re on task, they are attentive. They can concentrate for longer periods of time.”
In 2004, chef Jamie Oliver began a crusade to change the meals in Greenwich, south London, which resulted in a 15% drop in absences a 4.5% rise in English scores and a 6% rise in science scores.