I know that I say that about EVERY book, but I’m really really excited about this one! I’m not actually finished it yet but I think this might be the best book I read all summer.
Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition for the Mind. It’s about how nutrition affects the brain, particularly in areas like mental health, depression, memory decline, and senility. It outlines how we can fight, prevent, and even reverse mental breakdown using nutrition. By eating the right foods, we can boost our IQs, improve our moods, stabilize our emotions, sharpen our memories, and keep our minds young.
Jerome Burne of Medicine Today wrote that “a nutritionally ignorant psychiatrist is about as useful as a claustrophobic plummer.” In other words, what we eat directly affects our brains.
This book is broken down into eight parts:
Part 1: The best foods to eat and which nutrients are beneficial
Part 2: How to protect the brain and avoid “brain allergies”
Part 3: How to boost intelligence, enhance memories, and solve sleep problems
Part 4: How to fight mental illness
Part 5: How to deal with depression and schizophrenia nutritionally
Part 6: Mental health problems in the young
Part 7: Mental health problems in the old
Part 8: A complete action plan for regaining and maintaining good mental health
The author Patrick Holford has done two things that impressed me:
1. He researched the role of nutrition in intelligence, culminating in a landmark trial in 1987 proving that nutritional supplementation can raise IQ (Wow).
2. He specializes in the nutritional treatment of children with ADHD and autistic spectrum disorders, and nutritional solutions for depression, schizophrenia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease (thinking about Emma and some others).
Patrick Holford’s perfect world consists of the following:
- Babies are optimally nourished for brain development during pregnancy and infancy.
- Nurseries and schools, from infancy to university, actively encourage optimum nutrition for brain function.
- Governments actively encourage optimum nutrition to promote learning and prevent behavioural and mental health problems from childhood to old age.
- The treatment of mental health problems involves correcting nutritional imbalances as a first-line procedure.
- The public has easy access to information about optimum nutrition for mental health.
Can you imagine a world like that?
There is someone else I learned about: Dr. Abram Hoffer. He is the former Director of Psychiatric Research in Saskatchewan, Canada. In the 1950s he ran the first ever double-blind controlled trial in the history of psychiatry, in which he proved the power of vitamins as a treatment of schizophrenia.
His ideas at the time were ridiculed, but he is now in his 90s and has helped hundred of people with mental health problems through optimum nutrition. His mind is still sharp.
Hoffer writes that nutritional psychiatry can reach recovery rates greater than 10 percent. As a comparison, tranquilizer use alone helps well under 10 percent of schizophrenic patients.
Closer to home, about half the population of Canada, the USA, and the UK suffer from one or more degenerative diseases. These include not only schizophrenia, but bipolar psychoses, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, diabetes, neurological disease, obesity, immune deficiency, addictions, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. To name a few.
In the fight against these diseases, nutrition is key. The fact that we can fight them through food as opposed to medication is certainly something to get excited about. And the fact that I can LEARN how to do this and teach it to others is beyond exciting.
I can’t wait!