It is obvious that what we eat may affect our moods and mental functioning—anyone who gets cranky when hungry or sleepy after a big meal has experienced this connection firsthand. However, specific recommendations, such as using B vitamins to treat depression or omega-3 fish oils to treat adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are more questionable. This book, for which health reporter Challem has drawn on 30 years of nutrition research, is an uncomfortable combination of truisms and general advice (e.g., modern life is stressful, physical activity can improve your mood) that often recommends using nutritional supplements to treat specific disorders. Although the general advice may be useful, it is available elsewhere; the specific advice may be dangerous if it replaces consultation with a medical or psychiatric professional. Nonetheless, some people want this kind of information, so the volume may be relevant to public libraries collecting popular health books of uncertain scientific credibility.
* Best known as the ""Nutrition Reporter"" for consumer health publications (Alternative Medicine; Body & Soul; etc.), Challem (The Inflammation Syndrome) describes a familiar scenario: rising levels of anger, impatience, frustration, fatigue and anxiety due to minor daily irritations. Citing studies of increased violence traced to mood disorders, Challem contends that basic but highly specific diet and lifestyle modifications can lower stress levels and radically improve behavior and health. While the effects of poor nutrition on health take years to manifest, he says, such effects on mood are readily apparent, and he urges readers to notice how certain foods and beverages lead to headaches, fatigue, poor sleep, depression, compulsive behavior, panic attacks, bipolar disorder and other increasingly common conditions. His plan targets neuronutrients (vitamins and minerals needed to make critical brain chemicals) and nutrisocial factors (family, workload, environment, advertising, etc.) to boost mood. After taking a few quizzes, readers will be guided through a four-part program: supplements, diet, exercise and lifestyle. While the information is not entirely new, Challem does solidly address the hardest part of his equation—and that's the lifestyle change itself. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, January 8, 2007)
“…aims to help you understand and identify how your diet affects your moods…easy-to-follow book…all backed up by recent scientific research.” (Health & Fitness, May 2007)