Ask Dr. Kelly: Does the food I eat REALLY make a difference in how I feel?

When I talk to my clients about improving their mental and physical health, we often discuss the role that food plays in their life. Many of my clients feel overwhelmed by the amount of nutrition and diet information available at every turn. Should they try keto? What if they lost weight on low-fat back in the 80s? Is the HGH diet safe? They don’t know what to believe.

I’ve seen the big impact that food has on mood in my life and in the lives of my clients. To help my clients understand the scientific evidence connecting food and mood, I put together this mini-literature review to show what the science has found. I hope that this helps to answer your questions about food and mood.

Nutritional psychiatry is a growing field that utilizes food and targeted supplements as part of an integrated treatment approach to prevent and treat mental health disorders. Countless research studies have shown that adequate nutrition is essential for proper brain functioning and mental health (e.g., Bodnar & Wisner, 2005; Jacka & Berk, 2007; Jacka et al., 2011; Murakami & Sasaki, 2010; Psaltopoulou et al., 2013; Rossler et al., 2016).

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Inflammation Part 1: Inflammation is helpful…until it’s not

We’ve all had a splinter or stubbed our toe and seen what happens as a result…the area hurts, it gets red, and swells up.  Those symptoms are inflammation at its finest. Those symptoms are our body’s way of beginning the healing process. Those symptoms are signs that the immune system has turned on and is ready to fight invaders to prevent infection. That’s the good part of inflammation…the white knight coming to the rescue; it’s called acute inflammation. Acute inflammation’s evil step-sister (no offense to amazing step-sisters out there!) is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is…well…chronic. It is always there. Whereas acute inflammation is a natural process that we don’t control, chronic inflammation is within our control; we can turn it on or off with our lifestyle and nutrition choices. Before we get into what we can do to stop chronic inflammation, let’s take a closer at what it is and what problems/issues it causes.

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Resources for Healthy Living - Food and Nutrition

Moving to a healthier lifestyle might feel like a big change, but the endeavor doesn't have to be scary or a solitary pursuit. It's often easiest to pick one area of life to change first. Focusing on improving your nutrition will pay off quickly! Educating yourself is the first step. These are some of my favorite nutrition and whole food recipe resources. I frequently recommend them to my clients, and I use them myself!

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