Is a Healthy Diet a Get Out of Jail Free Card?

It seems there’s a vitamin or food prescription for every malady
of mood. Depressed? Boost your vitamin B intake. Tired? Skip
caffeine and go for some omega-3 fatty acids. Tense? Find
relaxation through magnesium.

Oxford researchers are putting the healing power of food to the
test with a new study in three prisons, including one in Scotland.
According to a recent article in the
Scotsman, prisoners would take part in a
study that will track the influence of healthy eating on behavior.
Scheduled to begin in the next three months, the study will provide
1,200 inmates with dietary supplements containing ‘a mixture of
vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids.’ A select number will
serve as a control group, receiving dummy pills.

A similar study took place in an English prison a few years ago.
Kristin Meyers and Joby Martin report in the
Monterey County Weekly that ‘prisoners
who received doses of zinc, iodine, potassium, and magnesium
committed 37 percent fewer violent offenses’ while incarcerated.
They also point to a study conducted in the 1980s that analyzed
the hairs of 27 murderers, including that of Charles Manson, and
found significant zinc deficiencies. The conclusion reached in
that study was that ‘a poor diet contributed to turning these
people into monsters.’ According to Meyers and Martin, eating
the right foods is as important as taking medication.

The hope amongst researchers is that, should the Scottish prison
study prove successful, dietary adjustments can be applied to
others with behavioral problems, including disruptive
schoolchildren.

Go there >>
How a Pill a Day Could Keep the Riot Squad Away in
Scottish Prisons

Go there, too >>
Mood Food: Eating Can Be a More Emotional
Exercise Than Many Realize

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