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252: This is Your Brain on Food with Dr. Uma Naidoo

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Hi, I’m Alex!

If you need a little help to start playing by your own rules, there’s a few ways we can work together more closely.


Your thinking, clarity, and the ability to be present as a creative leader are tied to how you nourish your body with meals and snacks. A change to how and what you eat can improve how you think. Want to know more? Join us!

Dr. Uma Naidoo has been described as “the world’s first triple threat in the Food as Medicine space.” She’s a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutritional specialist. Her niche is nutritional psychology, and she’s regarded nationally and internationally as a medical pioneer in this field. She’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Health Press, Goop, and others. Dr. Uma has a special interest in the impact of food on mood and other mental health conditions. She’s a clinical scientist in the field, directing hospital-based clinical services and nutritional psychiatry. She’s the director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and she also serves on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. She has a brand new book, This is Your Brain on Food, and she’s here to share the cutting edge science of the ways food contributes to mental health, along with how we can make targeted, focused, small changes in how we eat to help treat and prevent a wide range of psychological and cognitive health issues. We’ll discuss anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, and more. Think what it would mean to have 15-20% clearer thinking, focus, and better presence to be more productive with less effort. 

Music Credit: My good friend Lindsay Katt – https://lindsaykatt.bandcamp.com/track/stick-by-me 

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Show Highlights:

  • The true statistics about Americans and mental health conditions
  • How Dr. Uma came into the work of nutritional psychiatry
  • The basics of the gut-brain connection and their relation to mental health
  • How serotonin impacts our brain function
  • The reality of the gut as “the second brain”
  • To improve your diet to fight depression:
    • Eliminate nitrates and artificial sweeteners.
    • Eat prebiotic foods to feed your good gut bacteria: beans, oats, berries, garlic, onions, asparagus, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes. Eat probiotic foods like yogurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir.
  • Feed your brain with Omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish, avocado, olive oil, and nut butters. Use spices like oregano, saffron, and turmeric.
  • To improve your diet to fight anxiety:
    • Avoid gluten, processed oils, and artificial sweeteners.
    • Eat Omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, and vitamin-D enriched foods, like chickpeas.
    • Use herbal teas of lavender, passionflower, and chamomile.
    • Increase your intake of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and selenium (found in Brazil nuts).
  • To improve your diet to fight PTSD:
    • Eat blueberries, Omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, and ginkgo biloba.
    • Avoid added sugars and MSG.
  • Dr. Uma says: “Eat more salad because the fiber from beans, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and legumes are what the bugs in your gut thrive on.”


This is Your Brain on Food by Uma Naidoo

Find the book at Amazon.com, major retailers, or at book.umanaidoomd.com.