Manage episode 268952120 series 2312028
We often hear about food in the context of physical health—eating for a strong heart, healthy weight, and glowing skin. But what about the other impacts of food, like how it makes us feel emotionally and mentally? The growing field of nutritional psychiatry is shedding light on this profound connection, and it’s something I’m personally really excited about. On this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I was so happy to talk to Dr. Uma Naidoo about the connection between food and mood, looking at how what we eat impacts everything from anxiety and depression to ADHD, and more.
Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food as medicine space. She is a Harvard trained psychiatrist, professional chef, and Nutrition Specialist. Her niche work is in nutritional psychiatry and she is regarded both nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this more newly recognized field. In her role as a Clinical Scientist, Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first hospital-based clinical service in Nutritional Psychiatry in the US. She is the Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Naidoo is the author of the recently released book, This is Your Brain on Food. In her book, she shows the cutting-edge science explaining the ways in which food contributes to our mental health and how a sound diet can help treat and prevent a wide range of psychological and cognitive health issues.
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Here are more of the details from our interview:
- Dr. Naidoo’s cancer diagnosis and how she used food to help her anxiety while undergoing treatment (7:49)
- How Dr. Naidoo came to think about nutritional psychiatry (10:31)
- America’s mental health crisis and reliance on medications to treat anxiety, depression, etc. (14:23)
- Creating a personalized nutritional plan to treat mental illness (17:47)
- The relationship between gut health, diet, anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, etc. (20:15)
- The correlation between anxiety, depression, gluten, omega-3 fats, and folate (21:41)
- How the food we eat can drive neuroinflammation (25:20)
- Is food driving divisiveness in our society? (39:00)
- Mental health issues in children (44:01)
- The benefits of eating a diversity of vegetables and fruits (52:42)
Get Dr. Naidoo’s book, This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More, at https://book.umanaidoomd.com/
Learn more about Dr. Naidoo at https://umanaidoomd.com/ and follow her on Facebook @DrUmaNaidoo, on Instagram @DrUmaNaidoo, and on Twitter @DrUmaNaidoo
Learn more about the research cited in this episode:
- Persistent microbiome alterations modulate the rate of post-dieting weight regain https://genie.weizmann.ac.il/pubs/2016-christoph-nature-november.pdf
- Lach, G., et al., Anxiety, Depression, and the Microbiome: A Role for Gut Peptides. Neurotherapeutics, 2018. 15(1): p. 36-59. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794698/
- Hoban, A.E., et al., The microbiome regulates amygdala-dependent fear recall. Mol Psychiatry, 2018. 23(5): p. 1134-1144. https://www.nature.com/articles/mp2017100
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