Why vegetarian food improves mental health

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A recent study says by 2020, depression will rank as the second leading cause of disability, after heart disease. It is found that half of all long-term mental disorders start by age 14.  Data shows nearly 1 in 4 Americans have some type of mental illness each year. Today, childhood mental illness affects more than 17 million kids in the U.S.

On the other hand, take a look at some Indian communities where people are still practicing food habits meant for civilized human beings, that is, vegetarianism. For them depression is not the way of life as it is with places where non-veg is fed even to children. It is known to ancient Indian medical science, known as Ayurveda, that vegetarian food, especially in the mode of goodness (satva-guna), is the best food to keep not only body healthy but mind peaceful.

“Traditionally, we haven’t been trained to ask about food and nutrition,” says psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University. “But diet is potentially the most powerful intervention we have. By helping people shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders.”

“Recent studies have shown “the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet, or what we call the Western diet, to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet. The risk of attention-deficit disorder (ADD) doubles,” Ramsey says.

Primarily depression is a product of mind. Later on it affects the brain. Modern science is not able to clearly distinguish between mind and brain but there are obvious differences between the two that even a layman can understand. For example, a brain is composed of gross elements while the mind is made of subtle energy. A brain can be seen, a mind can only be experienced. Brain is located in the body but mind is not restricted to body and can wander thousands of miles away even when one may be sitting in a room.

“A very large body of evidence now exists that suggests diet is as important to mental health as it is to physical health,” says Felice Jacka, president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. “A healthy diet is protective and an unhealthy diet is a risk factor for depression and anxiety.” Can What You Eat Affect Your Mental Health?

A portion of what one eats contributes to the formation of his or her thought process, i.e. the functionality of mind. Mind is like a software in the body which is actually a hardware consisting of millions of circuits with brain being the most important part of it, like a CPU or central processing unit in a computer. Just like malfunctioning of a software can affect the performance of the hardware, when mind is thus affected by improper food, it causes one to go in depression which eventually leads to ill health and numerous diseases.

It is therefore advisable to eat food which is meant for human beings. Healthy food is fresh food. Fresh and satvic food generates fresh energy called prana. This prana energizes the brain and helps the mind remain in positive energy, hence peaceful. Meat, eggs and other non-veg food available in the market cannot be considered fresh by any means. Human bodies are meant to sustain on vegetarian food. It is a good sign that people around the world are gradually realizing this and turning to healthy vegetarian food.

Hare Krishna.