When it comes to diet, most people’s concerns involve weight loss, fitness, cardiac health, and longevity. But what we eat affects more than our bodies; it also affects our brains. And recent studies have shown that diet can have a profound impact on mental health conditions ranging from ADHD to depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, OCD, dementia, and beyond. On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host Dhru talks to Dr. Uma Naidoo, 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. 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, and Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of the newly released book, This is Your Brain on Food, which explains 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. In this episode, Dhru and Dr. Naidoo talk about how food is intricately tied to a range of mental health conditions. They discuss how the food we eat changes the type of bacteria present in our gut microbiome and why that’s important to know. They also talk about Dr. Naidoo’s breast cancer diagnosis and how she was able to lower her anxiety through her diet when she was going through treatment.
In this episode, we dive into: – The side effects and limitations of SSRI medications (7:22) – The gut-brain connection (14:09) – The connection between gluten and anxiety (30:16) – Foods that can improve brain health (36:41) – How diet can impact OCD (41:58) – How antibiotics impact our gut bacteria (44:40) – How to get started on Dr. Naidoo’s plan (46:15) – The best way to support family members when it comes to eating healthy (50:27) – Dr. Naidoo’s advice for supporting our mental health during the pandemic (53:23) – Where to learn more about Dr. Naidoo (56:47)
For more on Dr. Naidoo you can follow her on Instagram @drumanaidoo, on Facebook @drumanaidoo, on Twitter @drumanaidoo, and through her website https://umanaidoomd.com/. You can find her book, This is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More, right here: https://book.umanaidoomd.com/