"If the head and the body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul." (Plato)
Make no mistake about it – what we eat, drink, and otherwise ingest into our bodies has a significant effect on both our physical and mental health.
The couples we have interviewed around the world who have great marriages know the importance of being healthy in BOTH a physical AND mental sense. Don’t shortchange your relationship by thinking otherwise.
If someone told you that the lack of Vitamin C could lead to Scurvy, you would say – "Everybody knows that!"
If someone told you that the lack of proper levels of Folic Acid in pregnant women could lead to Autism in the child that is born, you would agree. The evidence in support of this notion seems pretty overwhelming.
Unless you have been living in a hole for the past 50 years, you know that proper nutrition is essential for good PHYSICAL health. No one disputes this simple notion.
Yet, when you extend the notion of proper nutrition to mental health, some folks look at you like a deer in the headlights of your car! They ask, "Huh?" What could nutrition possibly have to do with good mental health and a great marriage?
Why do so many believe that proper nutrition only applies to good physical health and not to good mental health? This is the question of the day that we will address it in this article.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR, Fourth Edition), ". . .4 out of the 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are mental disorders. Major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are among the most common mental disorders that currently plague numerous countries and have varying incidence rates." Many scientists believe that the root causes of several of these diseases are nutritionally based.
Studies show that a lack of certain dietary nutrients contributes to the development of mental and associated disorders. For example, essential vitamins such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, certain minerals, and the omega-3 fatty acids, have been found to be deficient in patients suffering from mental disorders, including depression. Unfortunately, these vitamins are often deficient in the general population in America and other developed countries.
A number of years ago, Charley taught a special seminar course entitled, "Nutrition and Mental Health." He admitted a half-dozen, carefully selected graduate students, and they began a journey to discover the truth about the relationship between mental health and proper nutrition.
They collected data for a good part of a semester from a myriad of international sources. They then compared their findings about mental health and nutrition to selected scales of the well-known and much used Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
To the astonishment of Charley and his students, the correlation between nutrition and mental health was overwhelming. They took their results and created what they called the “Psycho-Nutrition Inventory” (PNI, 1983).