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1. A spice a day keeps the doctor away.
It only takes a pinch! Adding spices like turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, saffron, rosemary and ginger add color and flavor to our food, while each possesses brain-healthy and even mood-boosting properties. A tip: using a pinch of black pepper with turmeric significantly increases its availability in the body and brain.
2. Hydrate, Meditate, Dominate!
Research shows an inverse association between water consumption and depression. Drinking less than 2 glasses of water a day was associated with a 75% and 54% higher risk of depression in men and women, respectively.
3. Mindful Eating
Rather than eating my meals standing up and on the run as I did during my residency days, I now set aside time for meals and make sure I am seated at the dining table. I enjoy setting the table and making that a physical space where I eat. Even during work-from-home times, creating a little corner of your table to eat meals is important to your mental well-being. I find that making time for my meals also encourages more mindful eating. So rather than mindlessly chewing and gulping down bites, I savor the flavor and texture and enjoy dinner conversations with my family.
4. Nutritious is Delicious
Nutritional Psychiatry encourages eating a bio-diverse variety of fruit and vegetables to nourish our bodies and brains with fiber and nutrients, as well as fueling both gut health and mental health. Roasting or steaming vegetables like broccoli, squash, asparagus, cauliflower, and carrots is a great way for them to taste delicious; their variety of textures and colors keeps them interesting and fosters curiosity. All the while, getting these vegetables in provides us with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant mood-boosting nutrients.
5. Your Power is at the End of Your Fork
You can change how you feel both emotionally and physically by the small choices you make every day. We eat, and we eat several times a day – so why not make that your smart advantage by nourishing your noggin! Healthy whole foods are important for maintaining tissue, keeping inflammation down and good moods up!
Uma Naidoo, MD
is a Harvard trained nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutritional biologist & author of the national & international bestseller: “This is Your Brain on Food.” Michelin-starred chef David Bouley described Dr. Uma Naidoo as the world’s first “triple threat” in the food and medicine space as the nexus of her interests have found their niche in Nutritional Psychiatry.
Dr. Naidoo founded and directs the first and only hospital-based Nutritional Psychiatry Service in the USA. She is the Director of Nutritional and Metabolic Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital & Director of Nutritional Psychiatry at the MGH Academy while serving on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. She serves as a regular media contributor at CNBC and is on the Harvard Health Publishing Editorial Advisory Board. She has been invited by the World Economic Forum to consult on their New Frontiers of Nutrition initiative. After being one of only four US physicians to be invited to meet personally with HRH The Prince of Wales, she was asked to collaborate with HRH and the UK College of Medicine on a public health Brain Food project. She is currently developing the first and only CME based educational program at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard to educate other clinicians globally about nutrition for brain health. Dr. Uma has appeared as a Nutritional Psychiatry expert on Live with Kelly & Ryan, Today Show, 700 Club, ABC, and been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Thrive Global, Harpers, Shape, Parade, Boston Globe, AARP, and more.
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