Depression, Inflammation, and Diet: How Rainbow Pediatrics is Addressing Pediatric Mental Health
Infection and disease have an interesting effect on the human body: inflammation. This can be a wonderful thing because healing isn’t possible without an inflammatory response, but when it comes to pediatric mental health, too much of a good thing isn’t so good.
Depression, according to a Duke University study, is likely to contribute to inflammation in the body. Poor lifestyle choices can do the same thing, however. While ongoing studies are investigating the possible effect that anti-inflammatory drugs may have on depressive symptoms, preventative measures may allow many to take control of their inflammation to help prevent and treat depression.
Laurie Powers, PA-C, who is certified in psychiatry and primary care, has learned that there is often a way to decrease inflammation, at times eliminating or decreasing the need for medication. Powers is combining her passion for mental health and preventative medicine by becoming certified in culinary medicine.
“Kids are overmedicated,” Powers said. “It is critical to attempt to identify the cause of depression and then find non-pharmaceutical solutions to help fix the issues whenever possible.”
She emphasizes the importance of incorporating lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation. Some examples include getting enough sleep, integrating regular exercise into a busy schedule, and learning how to fall in love with life-giving food. Her practice integrates behavioral health and culinary medicine services to get to the root of many pediatric mental health concerns. Parents play a key role in the success of her patients.
“Parents are the gatekeepers as to whether or not this works,” Powers said. “They are the ones who do the shopping and cooking and provide transportation to athletic activities. They are responsible for giving their children boundaries with things like electronics and bedtime.” Powers especially emphasizes the effect of certain diets on mental health.
In fact, many of the foods that kids eat on a daily basis cause inflammation. Eating anti-inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and fruits not only reduces inflammation, but it can protect the body from cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well.
“Following a Mediterranean or vegan diet is ideal because both are filled with high-fiber, high- nutrient, anti-inflammatory foods, which can have noticeable effects on mental health,” said Powers. “For some, medications can play an important role as well and are prescribed in conjunction with lifestyle changes when needed, but for many, a more natural approach is the answer.”
Laurie Powers, PA-C is seeing established Rainbow Pediatrics patients at the Fayetteville and Hope Mills locations. To inquire about an appointment, contact the office at (910) 486-5437. For more information on Mrs. Powers, visit https://www.rainbowpeds.net/laurie-powers-pa/.