Dr. Weil describes the relationship between diet and mental health.
Well, there are very interesting connections between diet and mental health and particularly, again, with this issue of omega-3 fatty acids. Inadequate omega-3 intake has a strong correlation with all forms of depressive illness. One interesting example, a former student of mine, Daphne Miller, has written an interesting book called “The Jungle Effect,” looked around the world for areas where their were, where diseases were either very prevalent or very absent, and she called these hot and cold spots. And the coldest spot in the world for depression is Iceland.
You know, how do they get away with that, living up there in the cold and dark and no sun for half the year? They have the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids of any people in the world and the highest tissue levels of them. So I think that’s the single most important correlate.
Also, in many people, and I think women especially may be affected by carbohydrates, that if they eat a lot of sugar or quick digesting carbohydrates, this might affect energy cycles and mood. But I think the overwhelming concern I’d look at would be omega-3 fatty acid intake.
About Dr. Weil, M.D.:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., was born in Philadelphia in 1942, received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked a year with the National Institute of Mental Health before writing his first book, The Natural Mind. From 1971-75, as a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled widely in North and South America and Africa collecting information on drug use in other cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative methods of treating disease. From 1971-84 he was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.