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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mental health link to diet change

Changes to diets over the last 50 years may be playing a key role in the rise of mental illness, a study says.

Fruit and vegetables
Changes to diet are being linked to a range of mental health problems

Food campaigners Sustain and the Mental Health Foundation say the way food is now produced has altered the balance of key nutrients people consume.

The period has also seen the UK population eating less fresh food and more saturated fats and sugars.

They say this is leading to depression and memory problems, but food experts say the research is not conclusive.

Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: "We are well aware of the effect of diet upon our physical health.

"But we are only just beginning to understand how the brain as an organ is influenced by the nutrients it derives from the foods we eat and how diets have an impact on our mental health."

And he added that addressing mental health problems with changes in diet was showing better results in some cases than using drugs or counselling.

Full Article:

Some Food Smells Hint at Nutrition

By Randolph Schmidt
Associated Press
posted: 09 February 2006

Washington (AP)- That fresh grassy smell wafting up from the newly sliced tomato may be it's way of saying "I'm good for you."

Indeed, the odors from foods ranging from garlic and onions to ginger and strawberries may be nutritional signals that the human nose has learned to recognize.

"Studies of flavor preferences and aversions suggest that flavor perception may be linked to the nutritional or health value'' of foods, researchers Stephen A. Goff and Harry J. Klee report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

However, they caution, domestication of many vegetables has not been kind to them, tending to favor qualities like color, shape, yield and disease resistance instead of flavor and nutrition.

Flavor is complex and uniquely challenging to plant breeders, they note, and as a result has not been a high priority.

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