One of the great benefits of the paleo diet is a better mood/attitude. I can honestly say from when I first came to Hoosier CrossFit and began the paleo diet- to where I am now, my mood and attitude has changed 100%. Although, not all of it is a direct correlation with what I eat, I believe a huge chunk of it is! Check out some research!
“The other morning, I checked my Google Reader and saw an interesting post fromThe Great Fitness Experiment entitled “The Link Between Mood Disorders and Diet (is going gluten-free the key to curing my anxiety?)“ I have several friends who deal with anxiety on varying levels, so I thought I’d check it out and see if it was worth passing along.
Long story short, the post on TGFE ended up being more of a personal manifesto regarding the author’s anxiety attacks and the long journey to finding a cure, which is still ongoing. While this wasn’t exactly what I thought I would read in the article – I thought the question was more rhetorical than a legit question – the post did reference other resources that I think would be of use to anyone who is suffering from anxiety and is currently looking for a non-pharmaceutical based treatment.
Before I get into the other resources, I think it’s important to note that I am a firm believe in the idea that our nutrition can and does directly affect our mood. While I used to be a curmudgeon, I’d like to think over the last year or so that has abated and I’m much more pleasant to be around; a glass-half-full sort of guy.
Anyway, one of the articles referenced in the TGFE article was a testimonial published on Robb Wolf’s blog entitled “Real Life Testimonial: No more meds or anxiety,” in which a young woman talks about how going Paleo helped her overcome her anxiety and get off of her prescription medications.
Here’s an excerpt that I found particularly interesting:
I’ve reached my third complete month free of anxiety medication. I originally wrote you after only completing one month. I wanted to address some of the comments that suggested it may have been too soon to state that I was “cured.”
I’ve been eating about 90% Paleo – any diversions from that only including occasional alcohol or sugar. I have not reintroduced grains into my diet whatsoever. Interestingly, when my diet is not optimal, I do feel an increase in anxiety. However, being able to attribute that anxiety to my poor diet choices makes the anxiety very manageable.
In conclusion, there has been no need for further medication or treatment…and my life continues to go wonderfully.
This is certainly pretty powerful stuff, but is it possible it’s just anecdotal and not representative of the Paleo diet at large? Based on what Google tells me, Christina’s story doesn’t appear to be unique to her as there are many testimonials linked to an improvement in mood/anxiety for people on the Paleo diet.
But what do non-testimonials say? Is there any legit scientific research to back this up? Good thing you asked:
Research done by British Journal of Nutrition shows that subjects on a low-fat diet were more likely to be angry, tense, and depressed:
The results suggest that a change in dietary fat content from 41 to 25 % energy may have adverse effects on mood.
Please take the time to read the entire study, and do note that it was aimed at looking at mood in the short-term (one-month). Either way, the results are interesting and worth taking note, especially since the Paleo diet is much higher in fat than what the USDA thinks we should be eating.
Read more here