Saturday, October 31, 2020

October, National Apple Month: Health Benefits and Recipes

Health Benefits
Apple is a fruit rich in antioxidants and a good source of fiber. Quercetin is an antioxidant found in apples and may inhibit lung cancer. Pectin found in apples helps treat diarrhea and constipation by adding bulk to the stool. Other benefits being studied include treatments for diabetes, heart disease, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood levels of LDL, reducing risks of Alzheimer’s, and decreasing bone fractures.

Apple seeds should never be eaten. They contain the poison cyanide.

Let’s not forget the peel. The apple peel contains ursolic acid, a chemical that may prevent muscle wasting.

There may be some truth to “An Apple a Day, Keeps the Doctor Away”.

Recipe: Baked Sliced Apples

Yield: 2 servings

2 Apples, cored and sliced
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Lemon-Lime Soda, diet
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1/2 cup Bran Flakes
1/2 cup Applesauce, unsweetened

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon-lime soda. Toss to combine.

2 Layer sliced apples in a baking pan.
3 Combine cinnamon, bran flakes, and applesauce. Place mixture over apples.
4 Bake 45 minutes or until apples are tender.
5. Serve with low-fat vanilla yogurt or ice cream.

References and Resources
1. U.S. Apple Association
2. WebMD: Apple
3. U.S. Apple Association: Recipes

Nutritional Analysis Services
Ensure accurate and cost effective nutritional analysis and food nutrition facts labels for your recipes and menus utilizing an extensive research database. A great service for the Media, Cookbook Publishers, Writers, Chefs, Recipe Websites and Blogs. Your readers will enjoy and benefit from the Nutrition information.

For more information, visit Dietitians-Online Nutritional Analysis Services

Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RDN, LN, FAND

Sunday, October 25, 2020

October, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
Joan E. Guthrie Medlen, RD and Down Syndrome Nutrition

Every October, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) reminds the world in a big way about the gifts that people with Down syndrome bring to their communities through a special video presentation on a jumbo screen in the heart of the Times Square.
The Times Square Video presentation kicked off Down Syndrome Awareness Month on the morning of the New York City Buddy Walk. This year, our third-party volunteers chose over 200 photos from over 1,000 submissions for the Times Square Video. The featured photographs highlight children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning alongside friends and family. These collective images promote acceptance and inclusion, which is the foundation of NDSS and the National Buddy Walk Program.

Joan Guthrie Medlen, M.Ed, RD and
the Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook

Joan E. Guthrie Medlen, a mother of a child with Down syndrome, a registered dietitian, and the author of “The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook: A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles,” encourages parents to start teaching healthy habits early but stresses that it's never too late to start, no matter what age.

Joan became involved in issues related to people with Down syndrome after the birth of her son. “As we all know, parents of kids with disabilities are involved in the big picture immediately – like it or not! I chose to work in the field of nutrition/health promotion for people with Down syndrome over 16 years ago. It’s a choice I've not regretted.”

Introducing Cooking By Color:
Recipes for Independence by 
Joan E. Guthrie Medlen, RD

Meet a family who shares their
amazing story of love and living

About Buddy Walk
The Buddy Walk® was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Today, the Buddy Walk program is supported nationally by NDSS and organized at the local level by parent support groups, schools and other organizations and individuals.

World Pasta Day

Pasta is a type of noodle and commonly referred to a variety of pasta dishes. It is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine. Usually, pasta is made from unleavened dough of durum wheat flour mixed with water and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked and served in any number of dishes. It can be made with flour from other cereals or grains, and eggs may be used instead of water. Kinds of pasta are divided into two broad categories, dried (pasta secca) and fresh (pasta fresca). 

Both dried and fresh pasta come in a number of shapes and varieties. Common forms of pasta include long shapes, short shapes, tubes, flat shapes, and sheets, filled or stuffed, and decorative shapes.

How to Make Pasta | Jamie & Buddy Oliver


Recipe: Artichoke and Lemon Pasta
Taste of Home

Resources and References
1. Wikipedia: Pasta   This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License
2. Cooking Light: Pasta Recipes

Saturday, October 17, 2020

October 17, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

“Acting together to achieve social and
environmental justice for all”

The theme for the Day this year addresses the challenge of achieving social and environmental justice for all. The growing recognition of the multi-dimensionality of poverty means that these two issues are inseparably intertwined and that social justice cannot be fully realized without aggressively rectifying environmental injustices at the same time. Whereas progress has been made in addressing income poverty, there has been less success in addressing the other important dimensions of poverty, including the rapidly growing impact of the environment, within a more holistic approach.

People living in extreme poverty, often through sheer necessity, are the first to act decisively within their communities in response to poverty, climate change, and environmental challenges. However, their efforts and experience often go unnoticed and unappreciated; their ability to contribute positively to solutions has been overlooked; they are not recognized as drivers of change, and their voices are not heard, especially in international bodies.

This must change. The participation, knowledge, contributions, and experience of people living in poverty and those left behind must be valued, respected, and reflected in our efforts to build an equitable and sustainable world in which there is social and environmental justice for all. Governments must act decisively—in partnership and in solidarity with people living in poverty —to effectively address the impending global economic downturn that now threatens to erase part of the gains in reducing poverty and stall efforts to fight climate change and environmental degradation. The United Nations’ measures to ensure Member States can achieve the SGDs by 2030, including its proposed socio-economic responses to the global pandemic, must be robustly pro-poor and fully focused on establishing green pathways to recovery.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted on 20 November 1989. This landmark human rights treaty sets out the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion, or abilities.

In particular, the Convention recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development. Poverty hurts children’s development and, in turn, leads to lower-income and health in adulthood. When child poverty is recognized as a denial of children’s human rights then people in positions of responsibility and power are legally bound to promote, protect, and fulfill children’s rights.

Join the #EndPoverty global campaign

Everyone can join the campaign on social media by using hashtag #EndPoverty and promoting the call to action to connect with people from around the world who have joined the fight to overcome poverty.

In addition to the commemorative event to be held in New York on 17 October, commemorations of the international day are being organized worldwide. The online community is asked to use #EndPoverty to share messages about the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty via social media.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 16, World Food Day - Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World

Either we build a future for all, or there will be no acceptable future for anyone.
World Food Day

World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in November 1979. FAO celebrates World Food Day each year on October 16th, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.

The official World Food Day theme is announced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The goal is to give focus to World Food Day observances and raise awareness and understanding of approaches to end hunger. The 2019 Theme is Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World.

A combination of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles has sent obesity rates soaring in developed and low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist.

Achieving Zero Hunger is not only about addressing hunger,  but also nourishing people while nurturing the planet. This year, World Food Day calls for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet is one that meets the nutritional needs of individuals by providing sufficient, safe, nutritious and diverse foods to lead an active life and reduce the risk of disease. It includes, among others, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, and foods that are low in fats (especially saturated fats), sugar and salt.

Nutritious foods that constitute a healthy diet are not available or affordable for many people.

Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO's efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. 

The three main goals are: the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; the elimination of poverty and the driving forward of economic and social progress for all; and, the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources, including land, water, air, climate and genetic resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

The objectives of World Food Day are to:
    Don’t waste water.
    Diversify your diet.
    Keep fish populations afloat.
    Keep soils and water clean.
    Buy organic
    Energy-efficient is best
    Use solar panels or other green energy systems
    Buy only what you need
    Pick ugly fruit and vegetables
    Don’t let labels fool you
    Limit your plastic
    Recycle paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum
    Store food wisely
    Love your leftovers
    Make plant food
    Be rubbish-savvy
    Make cities greener
    Shop local.
    Protect forests and save paper
    Bike, walk or use public transport
    Be a conscientious consumer
    Keep up to date on climate change
    Be an advocate!

*Encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end;

*Encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;

*Encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;

*Heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;

*Promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and

*Strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition, and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.

To learn more about World Food Day, visit the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Follow FAO World Food Day on Twitter.

National Mushroom Day

Growing Your Own Mushrooms

Top 8 Ways to Enjoy Mushrooms,
Fruits & Veggies More

1. Sauté. Easy as 1, 2, 3! Brush pan lightly with oil and heat on high. Add a single layer of mushrooms. Turn once mushrooms become reddish-brown on one side [after a few minutes]. Cook until the other side turns the same color, remove from heat. Add to any dish!

2. Grill and Broil [best for larger capped mushrooms, such as Portabellas]. Lightly brush caps and stems with oil and season as desired. Grill or broil 4 to 6 inches from heat source for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, brushing once or twice. Tip: Make these savory mushrooms the "main stage" of the meal.

3. Roast for Flavor. Roasting mushrooms is perfect for multitasking cooks. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush mushrooms with oil [about 1 tablespoon of oil for each 8 ounces of mushrooms]. Place mushrooms on a shallow baking pan in the oven. Stir occasionally until brown [about 20 minutes].

4. Steam in the Microwave. Microwaved mushrooms can freshen up lunchtime meals enjoyed at work or home. Place 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms in a microwaveable bowl. Cover and cook on 100% power for 2-3 minutes. Toss onto a hot sandwich, chili, soup or packaged meal.

5. Freshen Up Your Meals. Toss fresh mushrooms in your everyday meals like lasagna or soup to add key nutrients with no fat, little calories and no cholesterol.

6. Sandwich Swap. Cut slices of Portabella mushrooms for your favorite sandwich instead of meat for a healthy inexpensive swap.

7. Save for Later. Sauté fresh mushrooms and store them in the freezer for up to a month. Careful: Fresh, uncooked mushrooms should never be frozen.

8. Bag the Burger. Have a burger craving? Try swapping your burger for a grilled Portabella on a bun with your favorite condiments. Your taste buds will love the meaty texture and your body will appreciate the swap.

1. Fruits and Veggies, More Matters: Mushrooms: Nutrition, Selection, and Storage
2. Wikipedia, Mushrooms
3. Kitchen Dictionary: Mushroom

Monday, October 12, 2020

World Arthritis Day - Cooking Tips for People with Arthritis

Arthritis is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes, and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age, and previous injury.

When the joint symptoms of osteoarthritis can be managed by:
  • balancing activity with rest
  • using hot and cold therapies
  • regular physical activity
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
  • using assistive devices
  • taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medicines
  • avoiding excessive repetitive movements

If joint symptoms are severe, causing limited mobility and affecting the quality of life, some of the above management strategies may be helpful, but joint replacement may be necessary.

Osteoarthritis can be prevented by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding injury and repetitive movements.

Cooking can be difficult for people with arthritis who live with physical limitations, pain, and fatigue. Here are some meal-prep strategies to help you fuel your body with nutritious and delicious food, even when arthritis has left you feeling tired and in pain.

1. Use Ergonomic Cooking Tools. Arthritis pain, especially affecting the hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulders, can make simple cooking tasks more difficult. Lightweight cooking tools which have easy grips and non-slip handles are very helpful for people with arthritis. There are many design selections for cooking tools and kitchen aids. Spatulas, spoons, ladles, whisks and other cooking tools which feel comfortable in your hand can improve manual dexterity, reduce pain, and compensate for swollen and deformed joints.

2. Use tools for chopping and stirring.  Actions that force you to exert a lot of pressure on your joints in the hands and wrists can be painful, which is why chopping, cutting, and stirring are perhaps the hardest kitchen tasks for those with arthritis. Food processors help people with arthritis who have difficulty with manual cooking tasks like chopping, cutting, and slicing. The food processor will automatically chop, shred, or slice after you load it. Choose a food processor which is manageable.

3. Get help with jars. Jars can be a pain to open. Flat, rubber grips may make it a little easier but still require some effort. You can also try a mounted under-cabinet opener, and there are even electric jar openers. For hard-to-pop-open plastic containers, like yogurt use an inexpensive ring on your thumb and place the ring under the edge to lift it up.

4. Rocker Knife or Specialty Knives Simplify Cutting. Rocker knives are an example of a specialty cooking tool. The two-handled design puts strength and controls back into cutting and chopping. The rocker blade design has the motion built right in.

5. Lighten your load. Use lighter weight pots and pans. This also goes for plates, prep bowls, cookware, and storage containers. Be extra careful with large pots of food. Pots and pans can be heavy, clumsy, and hard to manage for people with painful, arthritic joints. Using a pot or pan with two handles distributes the weight more evenly between both of your hands and wrists.

6. Pull Up a Stool. Sit on a chair to do all the chopping and prep work. Work at your kitchen table, or if you have stools under the counter, sit there. If you are standing, use an anti-fatigue kitchen mat. Non-trip mats can take some of the stress off your legs and feet.

7. Store Foods Conveniently. Make sure you have food storage containers that are easy for you to open and easy for you to stack. Whether you choose plastic storage containers with easy-open lids or Ziploc bags, make sure they are convenient for you.

8. Make Kitchen Shelves Accessible. Your kitchen shelves should be easily accessible so that you don't strain your muscles and hurt painful joints when trying to reach dishes, cookware, or food. Have your most commonly used items closest to where you use them. Make sure kitchen items are not stacked precariously so that they can fall as you reach for them. Set up your kitchen with safety in mind and convenience too.

9. Invest in a slow or instant cooker. One-pot meals are the way to go to simplify your prep and cleanup. Slow cookers and Instant Pots make it easy to throw the ingredients in and forget about them until they’re ready.

10. Get help from the grocery store. Grocery shopping doesn’t have to be difficult as it used to be. Home delivery or pickup services take this task off your shoulders. If you do venture to the store, take advantage of any assistance the store can give you. Shop for precut veggies in both the fresh and frozen sections, ask the butcher and fishmonger to cut up meat and debone fish or buy precooked foods like a roast chicken to doctor up at home.

11. Delegate. A good manager knows what tasks to hand off to others. If you find something really painful, ask your partner or kids to help.

12. Simplify cleanup. Use the dishwasher. You can also prepare ahead of time for less mess by placing liners in your slow cooker, aluminum foil in your roasting pans, and parchment paper on your cookie sheets.

13. Planned Leftovers. Make extra food and plan for leftovers. By doubling your recipe, you can create planned leftovers which you can freeze and have available for another day.

Take steps to avoid foodborne illness

People who take arthritis medications that suppress the immune system are particularly vulnerable to E. coli, hepatitis C, and other food-related illnesses. Stay apprised of food recalls and remember to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

International Day of the Girl Child
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition
and promote sustainable agriculture

UN Women Statement: International Day of the Girl Child

“Some people say that it is shameful for girls to go to work or go to school. These are old traditions and conventions.”

The International Day of the Girl Child focuses on how to ‘Empower Girls: Before, during and after crises’. There has been a growing conflict, instability, and inequality, with 128.6 million people expected to need humanitarian assistance due to security threats, climate change, and poverty. More than three-quarters of those who have become refugees or who are displaced from their homes are women and children. Among these, women and girls are among the most vulnerable in times of crisis.

Displaced and vulnerable women and girls face higher risks of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as damage to their livelihoods; girls are 2.5 times more likely than boys to miss school during disasters, and displaced girls are often married off as children in an effort to ensure their security. A 2013 assessment estimated a rise in the percentage of Syrian girl refugees in Jordan being married before age 18 from below 17 percent before the conflict, to more than 50 percent afterward.

At UN Women, they are working to ensure that girls experiencing crises have positive options that allow them to grow and develop social and economic skills. Along with local women’s organizations, we support women and girl refugees through our Global Flagship Initiative, on Women’s Leadership, Empowerment, Access and Protection in Crisis Response (LEAP), which boosts civic engagement and leadership by advocating for women’s political and social participation at the local, national and international levels. LEAP also establishes Empowerment Hubs where women can network and access critical services and training and provides job placements, cash-for-work initiatives, and training for businesses.

Programs like these can turn situations of displacement into opportunities for empowerment for girls and young women, remove them from potentially violent situations, and serve as a path to economic security so that they are not forced to marry older men to provide for their physical and financial well-being.

On the International Day of the Girl Child, let us commit to investing in skills training and education for girls and livelihood activities for young women around the world who are facing crises. Far from being passive recipients of assistance, these girls are leaders who will use the skills that they develop today to rebuild their communities, and create a better future for all of us.

End hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition
and Promote Sustainable Agriculture

Women prepare up to 90 percent of meals in households around the world, yet when times are tough, women and girls may be the first to eat less. Households headed by women may not eat enough simply because women earn at lower levels, and are less prepared to cope with a sudden crisis.

Inequities in food consumption stand in contrast to women’s significant role in agricultural production. They comprise on average 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and over 50 percent in parts of Asia and Africa. Yet their potential contribution to food security remains constrained by unequal access to land and other productive assets. Nourishment is not just about the quantity of food, but its quality. In poor households, women can be less likely to get the nutrients they need, including to manage the physical demands of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Gender inequality intersects with inadequate health care, insufficient education and limited income to drive these deprivations.

Ending hunger means that all women can consume enough food with adequate nutrients. All women working in agriculture, if unshackled from discrimination, can contribute to greater global food security.

UN Women acts to stop hunger by supporting women’s role in food security, as the cornerstones of food production and utilization. We provide training for women farmers and access to information and technology, to help women can achieve significantly higher agricultural productivity. UN Women also raises awareness among rural women and decision-makers alike, on the need for legal changes to allow more equitable distribution of assets, such as land and credit. The entity also steers the online global knowledge hub, where women can share practical knowledge around food production and technology.

Empowering Girls 


World Mental Health Day - The Relationship Between Nutrition and Depression

This year’s World Mental Health Day comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.

The economic consequences of the pandemic are already being felt, as companies let staff go in an effort to save their businesses, or indeed shut down completely.

Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. 

Investment in mental health programs at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.

This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.

Prevention begins with a better understanding

Much can be done to help build mental resilience from an early age to help prevent mental distress and illness among adolescents and young adults and to manage and recover from mental illness. Prevention begins with being aware of and understanding the early warning signs and symptoms of mental illness. Parents and teachers can help build life skills of children and adolescents to help them cope with everyday challenges at home and at school. Psychosocial support can be provided in schools and other community settings and of course training for health workers to enable them to detect and manage mental health disorders can be put in place, improved or expanded.

Investment by governments and the involvement of the social, health, and education sectors in comprehensive, integrated, evidence-based programs for the mental health of young people is essential. This investment should be linked to programs to raise awareness among adolescents and young adults of ways to look after their mental health and to help peers, parents, and teachers know how to support their friends, children, and students. This is the focus of this year’s World Mental Health Da

Eating disorders commonly emerge during adolescence and young adulthood. Most eating disorders affect females more commonly than males. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are characterized by harmful eating behaviors such as restricting calories or binge eating. Anorexia and bulimia nervosa also include a preoccupation with food, body shape or weight, and behaviors such as excessive exercise or vomiting to compensate for calorie intake. People with anorexia nervosa have low body weight and a heightened fear of weight gain. People with binge eating disorder can experience feelings of distress, guilt, or self-disgust when binge eating. Eating disorders are detrimental to health and often co-exist with depression, anxiety, and/or substance misuse.

Understanding Nutrition, Depression and Mental Illnesses,   T. S. Sathyanarayana Rao, M. R. Asha,1 B. N. Ramesh,2 and K. S. Jagannatha Rao2 (To review the entire article, click the following link.)

Nutrition and food patterns play a key role in the onset, severity, and duration of depression. These may include poor appetite, binge eating, overeating, anorexia, skipping meals, and a desire for sweet foods. Nutritional neuroscience is an emerging discipline shedding light on the fact that nutritional factors are intertwined with human cognition, behavior, and emotions. 

The dietary intake pattern of the different populations throughout the world reflects they are often deficient in many nutrients, such as essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have indicated that daily supplements of vital nutrients are often effective in reducing patients' symptoms. Supplements containing amino acids have also been found to reduce symptoms, as they are converted to neurotransmitters which in turn alleviate depression and other mental health problems. When we take a close look at the diet of depressed people, an interesting observation is that their nutrition is far from adequate. They make poor food choices and selecting foods that might actually contribute to depression

The most common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with mental disorders are of omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters. Accumulating evidence from demographic studies indicates a link between high fish consumption and low incidence of mental disorders; this lower incidence rate being the direct result of omega–3 fatty acid intake. The majority of Asian diets are usually also lacking in fruits and vegetables, which further leads to mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

Carbohydrates have been found to affect mood and behavior. Eating a meal rich in carbohydrates activates the release of insulin in the body. Insulin helps let blood sugar into cells where it can be used for energy and the production of tryptophan to the brain. Consumption of diets low in carbohydrates tends to generate depression due to the lack of production of serotonin and tryptophan.

Protein intake affects brain functioning and mental health. Many of the neurotransmitters in the brain are made from amino acids. If there is a lack of amino acids, this can associate with low mood and aggression in patients. The excessive buildup of the amino acids phenylalanine may lead to brain damage and mental retardation this disease is called phenylketonuria.

As more resource is collected the relationship between nutrition and depression are unquestionably linked. Mood improvement has been associated with improved vitamin B2 and B6 status. Thiamine is linked to cognitive performance particularly in the older population. Clinical trials have indicated Vitamin B12 may delay the onset of signs of dementia.

A study observing patients with depression and low blood folate levels have identified a strong predisposing factor of poor outcome with antidepressant therapy. It is not clear yet whether poor nutrition, as a symptom of depression, causes folate deficiency or primary folate deficiency produces depression and its symptoms.

Another relationship between diet and depression involves old age. Related factors include unintentional weight loss; often linked to increased morbidity and premature death; a reduction in taste and smell, poor dentition, the use of medications that may depress the appetite.

1. World Mental Health Day, Theme: Increased Investment in Mental HealthWHO
3. If you believe you suffer from depression or mental illness, seek help. Mental Health America

Call the 24-hour, toll-free confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or go to News

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