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Home » The Surprisingly Dramatic Role of Nutrition in Mental Health by Julia Rucklidge (Transcript)

The Surprisingly Dramatic Role of Nutrition in Mental Health by Julia Rucklidge (Transcript)

Julia Rucklidge

Full text of nutrition researcher Julia Rucklidge on The Surprisingly Dramatic Role of Nutrition in Mental Health at TEDxChristchurch conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health by Julia Rucklidge at TEDxChristchurch

TRANSCRIPT: 

In 1847, a physician by the name of Semmelweis advised that all physicians wash their hands before touching a pregnant woman in order to prevent childbed fever. His research showed that you could reduce the mortality rates from septicemia from 18%, down to 2% simply through washing your hands with chlorinated lime. His medical colleagues refused to accept that they themselves were responsible for spreading infection. Semmelweis was ridiculed by his peers, dismissed and the criticism and backlash broke him down and he died in an asylum two weeks later from septicemia at the age of 47.

What I am going to talk about today may sound as radical as hand washing sounded to a mid-19th century doctor and yet it is equally scientific. It is a simple idea that optimizing nutrition is a safe and viable way to avoid, treat or lessen mental illness.

Nutrition matters. Poor nutrition is a significant and modifiable risk factor for the development of mental illness. According to the 2013 New Zealand Health Survey, the rate of psychiatric illnesses in children doubled over the last five years. Internationally, there’s been a three-fold increase in ADHD, a twenty-fold increase in autism and a forty-fold increase in bipolar disorder in children. And this graph here shows there’s been a four-fold increase in the rates — the number of people who are on disability as a direct consequence of an underlying psychiatric illness. The rates of mental illness are on the rise.

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