Modern processed food may be common, but to our bodies, the modern diet is an extraterrestrial encounter.
In humanity’s 200,000 year history, farming is an suprisingly new development. About11,000 years ago, agriculture started popping up around the globe in a few disconnected areas: Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East (“The Fertile Crescent” in modern day Iraq and Syria). What this means is that for more than 90% of our development as a species, humans were not eating grains or or any modern farmed foods. Processed foods with refined sugars, refined grains, preservatives, artificial flavors, etc. are only 50-75 years old. This means that, at most, 99.3% of humanity’s evolution was apart from any processed food.
It was long believed that neurons in the human brain were incapable of growth and repair after maturity. We now know this to be false and that the human brain retains the potential for self-renewal throughout our lives. Even more exciting is that self directed neuroplasticity is a real possibility.
Neuroplasticity: The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury. Even more exciting is that self directed neuroplasticity is a real possibility.
Neurogenesis: is the process by which neurons are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF): A growth factor encoded by the BDNF gene that promotes both neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
Much to the chagrin of the pharmaceutica industry, there is no “silver bullet” for preventing and reversing cognitive decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Instead, what we do have is “silver buckshot” in the form of numerous dietary and lifestyle interventions that can increase the body’s production of BDNF.
Things you can take to increase neuroplasticity, and neurogenesis and BDNF levels include:
One in ten Americans are now taking antidepressants. Is this at all shocking? Hardly. I think increasing levels of depression and anxiety are a natural response to the increasingly bizarre and unhealthy environment modern humanity is living in.
Check it out. We have: a global population bursting at the seams, increasingly stressful & sedentary jobs, personal debt at an all time high, piles of nutrient-poor processed food, skyrocketing synthetic chemical exposures, relentless electronic stimulation, rampant corruption in political and religious leadership, and we are all basically being born into a society of psychological and economic slavery that is difficult to perceive, let alone escape. In this environment, feeling anxious and/or depressed may be the sign of a normal and healthy reaction to the situation at hand.
Like all animals, human behavior is largely based on responding to immediate needs to reduce perceived discomfort. So it is not at all surprising that people suffering from anxiety and depression are turning to drugs (prescribed and otherwise), and indulging in foods, alcohol, and other distractions that provide easy distraction and relief. Continue reading “A Sane Response to Anxiety & Depression”