Can Mass Shootings Be Stopped With Diet?

Nov 10 2017 - 8:17am
Mental health, diet, mass shootings

Mass shooting statistics in America are rising and are the highest of any country. Recent mass shootings have uncovered several observations regarding mental health and a need for gun control, while nutrition professionals are looking at diet as an important factor.

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Mass shooting statistics are alarming.

A mass shooting is an incident in which a gunman shoots four or more people in the same general time and location, according to the Gun Violence Archive, who compiles data from shooting incidents. According to the Gun Violence Archive, we have seen 307 mass shootings from January 1 to November 5. That averages to almost 7 mass shootings a week.

Food Patterns For The Depressed Are Dismal

With mass shooting statics so high we can't afford to not look at diet when it comes to mental health issues. According to research published on understanding the connection between diet and depression, many of the noticeable food patterns that precede depression are the same as those that occur during depression. These may include poor appetite, skipping meals, and a dominant desire for sweet foods.

“When we take a close look at the diet of depressed people, an interesting observation is that their nutrition is far from adequate. They make poor food choices and select foods that might actually contribute to depression,” according to the study.

Sadly, the sweet foods used to satisfy cravings are more likely of the processed variety than from fresh wholesome foods. America's desire for junk and fast foods and the high incidence of mental illness compared to other countries may be more than coincidence. Currently 26% of the American population is currently diagnosed with mental illness. This is in stark contrast to tthe worldwide prevalence of mental illness, which is of 4.3%.

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More Good Carbohydrates, Less Animal Protein

Your brain is working 24/7 for you and requires adequate fuel to function nonstop. Contrary to some popular theories the brain does not require high amounts of protein and it does not require high amounts of fat. In fact, these choices ultimately result in carb cravings. The fuel you brain needs comes from carbohydrates –not pasta and cookie carbohydrates, although the body will take what it can get when there are deficiencies -- the ideal carbohydrates come from fruit and plenty of it.

“Consumption of diets low in carbohydrate tends to precipitate depression, since the production of brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan that promote the feeling of well being, is triggered by carbohydrate rich foods. It is suggested that low glycemic index (GI) foods such as some fruits and vegetables, whole grains, pasta, etc. are more likely to provide a moderate but lasting effect on brain chemistry, mood, and energy level than the high GI foods - primarily sweets - that tend to provide immediate but temporary relief.”

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The study also found deficiencies in zinc and selenium which are found in abundance in plant-based foods like pumpkins seeds, cherries, and brazil nuts, to name a few, negatively affect mood.

Fruit Is Good Mood

http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303260 A study published in the American Journal Of Public Health found that increased fruit and vegetable consumption led to increased happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being. This, the study said, was equal in size to the psychological equivalent of finally getting a job after being unemployed.

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Protein or Fruit Fear? Which Is Worse?

Americans are eating too much animal protein and not enough fruit. We have become a society that suffers from anxiety, especially when it comes to our fear of food. There is an unfounded fear that we do not get enough protein in the American diet when the diet is saturated in it. What’s worse, is there are some very real and unfounded fears about eating fruit. These fears have led many dieters to a brick wall with misinformation. When push comes to shove and you are in doubt which food has the greater health benefit – go for the nutrients – always go for the fruit.

We Aren’t Eating Enough Fruit

In a report using nationwide surveys that looked at produce intake in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that while states vary when it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, they all could use improvement in the produce department. While still considered moderately low, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume 1.5 to two cups of fruit every day, along with two to three cups of vegetables. What is more, fruits and vegetables add necessary dietary nutrients, which help maintain healthy body weight and keep health risks like heart disease, stroke, and some cancers at bay according to the CDC reports.

“Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites,” according to the CDC’s study authors.

Related: The One Lame Excuse People Make To Avoid Changing Their Diet


Can Diet Stop Mass Shootings?

Whether diet change can reverse mental health issues and prevent more mass shootings remains to be seen, but the connection between inadequate diet and these incidences is something to be concerned about. One of the first steps taken in improving our collective mental health needs to include a review of our recommendations for proper nutrition.

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