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Unprocessed: How the Food We Eat Is Fuelling Our Mental Health Crisis

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The second villain is the UK government, who Wilson excoriates for failing to regulate the content of produced food and thereby protect public health. Wilson has very clear and critical opinions regarding the legacy of the austerity policy initiated in 2011 and the conduct of the government throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Although this political polemicising may not be to everyone’s taste, readers are left in no doubt to Wilson’s views about potential shortcomings of government over the last decade.

The idea that your diet affects your brain is not ground-breaking. But Wilson argues that what we eat not only has an impact on our mood, but affects our brain function at every stage of life: from before life begins, in pregnancy, to reducing the impact of cognitive decline in old age.

Unprocessed is a book on nutrition, like many others before it. What sets this one apart though is an (at times unbalanced) focus on diet during pregnancy, reducing violence in prisons through supplementation, or giving out correct dietary guidelines from the - in this case UK - government. How Emotions are Made by Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett. As professionals who proclaim to help people understand their emotional worlds it is incumbent upon us to have up-to-date knowledge, even if it challenges our personal beliefs and training… Which work of fiction amazed you with its psychological insight? People don’t tend to give me advice. I come across, almost certainly, as a bit of a know it all. But I do appreciate it. Once, someone told me I always had my shoulders up, and a manicurist moisturising my hand once said: “You don’t know how to relax.” These things helped me realise how tightly wound I was. In conclusion, ‘Unprocessed’ is a thought provoking book with both personal and professional implications. I’ve certainly found myself thinking more about what I eat as a result of reading it, and it has helped expand the horizons of my psychology practice too.

Explores the profound link between the food we eat and the way we think and feel' Radio 4 Start the Week On the other hand, children in the UK are eating more than the recommended levels of added sugar. The UK government advises that free sugars – sugars added to food or drinks and found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and purees – should not make up more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day. Sugar is another factor. Too much glucose – for example, from sugars in fizzy drinks and sweet treats – can predispose someone to high blood sugar and insulin insensitivity. What role do educational psychologists play in supporting children, young people and their families around the issue of diet? Should this be within our remit? We all know that as a nation our mental health is in crisis. But what most don't know is that a critical ingredient in this debate, and a crucial part of the solution - what we eat - is being ignored.What if, instead of starting with your stress levels, work and relationships, a therapist asked you what you had for lunch?

Think Mediterranean: lots of vegetables (especially of the leafy green variety) and fruit, protein, fibre, healthy fats from oily fish and olive oil, plus plenty of nuts and seeds. Limit processed foods, added sugar and alcohol (which Wilson says is a “neurotoxin” that kills and damages brain cells). The brain continues its rapid growth and development during infancy and childhood. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly one called DHA, make up a significant proportion of the membrane of brain cells. DHA is considered irreplaceable for brain development and evidence shows it may be especially important to ensure that children are getting sufficient amounts through regularly eating oily fish. A recent survey found that less than 5% of UK children are meeting the fish consumption recommendations. The convenience of these foods means that they increasingly displace more nutritious but more labour-intensive foods from our diets,” Wilson writes. Diet and dementia riskOne way that she deconstructs this behavioural tension between short and long term decisions is by adopting a lifespan perspective. This perspective extends from the prenatal phase of life by exploring the need for (and the barriers to achieving) good pre-natal nutrition to old age, where she considers the relationship between diet and the increasing prevalence of dementia. You will discover, through evidence-based research, the foods and nutrients the brain needs and what happens when there are imbalances in your diet. You will learn the crucial importance of good sleep, and why regular physical activity is one of the best investments you can make for your long-term brain health. I recently read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Notes on Grief and though I was not recently bereaved, when I closed the book I promptly burst into tears. She portrays the rawness, the frayed edges and bewilderment of grief so perfectly that it felt like those moments in therapy when the interpretation hits just right. What was the last book that made you laugh? Be honest with me, wherever possible. Being treated like a fool winds me up no end. We’ll get on much better if you’re straight with me. It’s not just that I dislike dishonesty. Honestly? I think it makes you seem weak. Own the truth.

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