Book-review-The-better-brain-how-nutrition-will-help-you-overcome-anxiety-depression-ADHD-and-stress

Book review – The better brain by Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

Book-review-The-better-brain-how-nutrition-will-help-you-overcome-anxiety-depression-ADHD-and-stress

The full title of this book I am reviewing is The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd. I highly recommend everyone reads this book. Even if you are not affected by anxiety, depression or ADHD, we are all affected by stress and there are many great tips in the book that you can adopt to improve your general health overall and boost your mood – who doesn’t need that!

The book is really well set out. It does cover many research studies but at the end of each chapter, it has a section titled ” The Takeaway” which summarises the chapter emphasising the key points on that topic. Below I am including a few of the key takeaway points that resonated with me and some notes on why it was important to me.

Nutrients are absolutely critical in at least five ways: to build your brain and enable your brain to function, to make energy molecules, to modulate your DNA expression and keep your genes healthy, to fight inflammation, and to protect you from toxins. For daily operation of your brain, nutrients are the fundatmental building blocks, makng neurotransmitters, supporting the methylation process, and ensuring adequate ATP production. And with adequate ATP prodcuction, we are able to reapri the various types of chromosomal breaks that occur as a function of environmental stressors.

pg 70 – The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

I always knew eating a lot of fruit and veggies were good for your physical health but reading this book really made me realise how important eating well is for the brain. It makes so much sense really given that the brain is the hungriest organ in the body, consuming roughly 20 percent of our energy each day.

Another important microbiome is in our soil. The importance of dietary minerals is underestimated by the public. Most people don’t realize that without adequate minerals in the soil, plants can’t produce the vitamins we need even if we eat a super healthy diet.

pg 99 – The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

I take a magnesium supplement daily because I am aware that the fruit and veg we currently eat do not hold the same micronutrients that they would have in our grandparents’ generation. And unfortunately, the research shows that the effects of climate change are further decreasing their micronutrients. Just one more reason why we need urgent action on climate change.

Many rigorous studies have shown that there is a relationship between how people eat and how they feel. They’ve also shown that, often, eating poorly tends to proceded porr mental health, whereas a healthy diet of wholefoods is protective.

pg 116 The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

If I have times when my fruit and veg intake is not as good as it should be I definitely notice a change in my mood and energy levels and it appears that lack of micronutrients would play a part in that.

The most powerful proven effect of the broad-spectrum [multinutrient supplementation protocol] is improved ability to regulate emotions, which can then lead to improvements in other problematic areas, like mood, anxiety, irritability, and aggression

pg 138 The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

In the book, they are not advocating for single micronutrient supplementation (like I am doing with magnesium!) rather the authors are recommending a broad-spectrum multinutrient supplementation protocol. This isn’t a standard over-the-counter multivitamin you can pick up at the chemist but a specific formulation with over thirty or so dietary minerals and vitamins, along with some amino acids and antioxidants.

The more stressed or traumatrized you are, the more you need nutrients to help you cope – and the less likely you are to get them, especially if food supplies are disrupted after a natural disaster, or you understandbly turn to comfort foods for temporary relief.

pg The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

A great reminder that while a natural reaction to stress is to head for comfort foods, this is not what our body or brain needs at this time.

The Mediterranean wholefood type of diet is the best overall to give your brain nutrients it needs.

pg 200 The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

That is another point on the board for Mediterranean wholefood type of diet!

The long-term follow up of research participants from Julia’s lab has shown that ongoing treatment with broad-spectrum multinutrients results in 80 to 85 percent going into remission from their mental health symptoms. In contrast, a more typcial long-term remission rate for those taking antidepressant meds is less than 25 percent.

pg 287 The better brain: how nutrition will help you overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD and stress / Julia Rucklidge, PhD ; Bonnie Kaplan, Phd.

These stats to me are so amazing and shows how powerful natural remedies can be. I know they are also similar to exercise and the impact it has on depression:

16 weeks of regular exercise has been found to be equally as effective as antidepressant medication in treatment of mild to moderate depression (Blumenthal et al., 2007). Increasing exercise over a shorter period has also been shown effective, with as little as 9 weeks of regular activity shown to reduce the risk of depression (Stanton & Reaburn, 2014).

Source: Black Dog Institute – Exercise and Depression Fact Sheet

Again, I highly recommend this book for all to read, particularly for those who want to look at what they eat to help with the way they manage stress and look after their mental health. You can find out more about Julia Rucklidge, PhD here and Bonnie Kaplan, Phd here.

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