Home Superfood The Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health

The Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health

0
4

Coronavirus in Context: The Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health


  • Published on Oct 1, 2020

Video Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]




JOHN WHYTE: Hi, everyone.


I’m Dr. John Whyte,


chief medical officer at WebMD.


We’ve talked a lot about weight


gain on our show


and the results of the poll


conducted by WebMD.


But living


through this challenging time


doesn’t mean that you can’t also


eat healthy.


In fact, eating better might


actually help you deal


with anxiety.




I recently had the opportunity


to chat with Dr. Drew Ramsey,


an assistant clinical professor


of psychiatry


at Columbia University,


about tips to eat healthier


during the pandemic.


In this episode, Dr. Ramsey


talks about the relationship


between diet and mental health


as well as how to enjoy comfort


foods that are


delicious and nutritious.


When people are anxious,


often they’ll turn to comfort


foods.




Those foods are not fruits


and vegetables.


They tend to be chips, ice


cream,


foods that tend to have


high sugar content.


How do we address this issue


of wanting to use food, perhaps


to address some issues


of anxiety?




DREW RAMSEY: The way


that we do this


in nutritional psychiatry


and a lot of the focus


of my work is, how do we upgrade


that behavior to something


that’s good for the brain?


So I li– I eat emotionally,


for sure.


But I try to, when I’m wanting


things like carbohydrates,


to really think about how I can


increase the nutrient density


of that dish.


You mention people craving ice


cream.


That’s a fine choice sometimes–


it’s easy, it’s quick,


it’s satisfying.




But other nights,


is it possible to just do


a simple swap,


like do some full-fat yogurt


with some dark chocolate


shavings, some berries,


and some nuts,


or have a cup of tea with honey.


You know, it sounds


silly as a replacement


for dessert, but just to try it


as an experiment.


So those are the sorts of ways


if you’re craving comfort food.


How about a kale mac and cheese?


Mac and cheese is delicious.


Kale–




JOHN WHYTE: Kale.




DREW RAMSEY: Kale mac and cheese


is delicious and also quite


nutritious.




JOHN WHYTE: Is it?


Is it delicious?




DREW RAMSEY: Hey, bottom line


is, increasing


the nutrient density


of your comfort foods


is the way to win that, where


you still get that satiation


of soothing yourself with food.


So I think we want to encourage


that in patients


and then help them increase


the nutrient density.


That– that just needs more


nutrients per calorie.


Easy ways to do that


are plants, bivalves,


like mussels, clams,


and oysters.




That’s– what we work for is


kind of less shame and fear


around eating for patients.


We’ve really failed


as a medical profession giving


nutritional advice,


and in my opinion, that we’ve


really been centered


around singular nutrients


and fear-based messaging.


And so we really try and promote


a very joy-based message of,


Mother Nature makes a lot


of amazing food for you.


It’s all nutritious.


Let’s figure out how to help you


really have a– a diet that


supports you, especially


now during more quarantine,


likely, that’s happening


or at least really restricted


eating behaviors and shopping


behaviors.




JOHN WHYTE: Are there a couple


super foods that you recommend


most people to start consuming,


that maybe they’re not?


So for instance, I always talk


to patients about blueberries.


There’s one superfood out there


they should consume every day–


and I try to do it every day–


is a blueberry.




DREW RAMSEY: I love


the blueberries, certainly


those little anthocyanins


in there.


But that’s really


the only reason that blueberries


are a brain food.


They’re a low glycemic inde–


index food.


And then they got some press


because they have anthocyanins.


Lots of things


have anthocyanins.


And so blueberries are great,


but what we do


in nutritional psychiatry


is we focus on food categories.




Food category so many Americans


are missing when it comes


to eating for the brain health


is seafood.


We eat about 14 pounds


per person for– per year.


Americans tend not to–


we don’t even have a recommended


daily allowance in the US


for long-chained omega-3 fats,


things


like the bivalves– mussels,


clams, and oysters.


I love seeing those in patients’


menus, really easy and delicious


to cook at home.


All of the benefits


you get from seafood,


you get from the bivalves.




We look for other food


categories like leafy greens.


And I talk a lot about kale.


You don’t ever have to eat kale.


But those leafy greens


are the most nutrient-dense food


category.


They’re just water, minerals,


vitamins, and phytonutrients.




JOHN WHYTE: I actually like


kale.




DREW RAMSEY: OK, all right, OK.




JOHN WHYTE: –kale


and [INAUDIBLE].


I’m not sure about the mussels


and the clams, but– but–




DREW RAMSEY: Well, you know–




JOHN WHYTE: –kale is OK.




DREW RAMSEY: They also can be


simple, like small potatoes


or small blue potatoes.


Those anthocyanins you love


in blueberries, they also come


in blue potatoes,


a nice resistant starch


if you cool them, very calming,


satiating, delicious comfort


food that’s also packed


with potassium and folate


and fiber.


I also really love


the fermented foods these days


and pushing those in the sense


of all the science coming out


about how the microbiome affects


energy metabolism, how it


affects brain


health and mental health.




JOHN WHYTE: Give us


some examples


of those fermented foods.




DREW RAMSEY: So fermented foods


are things like kefir


and yogurt, are probably the two


most commonly consumed


in America.


But fermented foods are part


of any culture.


So kimchi, sauerkraut, natto,


tofu, these– these are all


fermented foods that–


sourdough bread– that– that


have some live bacteria in them.


When we think about having


a healthy, diverse microbiome,


really, it’s a two-step process


for most Americans.


They need– most people,


eating more fermented foods


and eating more plants.




JOHN WHYTE: Is there any role


for supplements in your diet?




DREW RAMSEY: You know, certainly


supplements play a role,


and I think a lot of people kind


of push


that, especially medicine


as an insurance policy.


And– and I guess I’ve always


taken a little contrarian stance


on this.


I don’t think that we can


medicate or supplement our way


out of the health crisis


and the mental health crisis


that we have.


I think that we have


a tremendous problem in America


and the types of ways–


and the foods that we eat


and how we approach nutrition,


wellness, and health.




And so certainly there are


some supplements that play


a role in mental health.


We certainly use omega-3 fats


sometimes to help augment


in depression.


There’s not really a lot of data


about any of these.


For example,


there’s– there’s data about


zinc.


But instead of a zinc


supplement,


I’d love to get patients eating


more papitas, more oysters, more


food that contains zinc.




JOHN WHYTE: Real quickly,


are you a believer


in intermittent fasting?




DREW RAMSEY: I am.


I like intermittent fasting.


I like ketones,


and I like the idea of ketosis.


I think so often in dieting,


nutrition, and medicine


in America, we are a country


of extremes.


So to like ketones,


intermittent fasting,


mea– means you’re a, you know,


ketogenic guy.


I think it’s very interesting–




JOHN WHYTE: Like that better


than Mediterranean?


All the data’s on Mediterranean


diet, Dr. Ramsey.




DREW RAMSEY: Well, I don’t think


data is what drives


individual eating choice.


And so


as a clinician and nutritional


psychiatrist, if I meet you,


and you want to go carnivore,


I–


I want to hear what that’s


about for you.


If I meet you,


and you are in the midst


of a horrible depressive


episode, and you’re a vegan,


I want to hear what that’s


about for you.




I don’t want to come at this,


let’s get you


on the Mediterranean diet


because that’s what all the data


says.


That– I don’t find that to be


effective medicine


s my patients.


And I think it’s where medicine


really–


I hope we’ll listen to some


of what’s coming out of how


psychiatrists approach food


and how we approach patients.


We have a– a different setting


in the sense of, maybe having


more time.




But we also have a stance that


is maybe a bit less


paternalistic.


And so I want to think


about for an individual,


certainly, what elements


of the Mediterranean diet


translate to them?


If somebody is using a lot


of corn and soy oil,


I’m going to want to hear


about olive oil


into their experience of it.




JOHN WHYTE: Well, well, OK,


but then why do you


like ketosis?




DREW RAMSEY: I like ketosis


occasionally because one,


it’s a state


that all traditional cultures


have engaged in.


When you look


at the Mediterranean diet,


I feel it’s really missing


from the data,


is the Mediterranean lifestyle


includes one to two months


of fasting a year,


that if you’re a Greek orthodox,


you’re fasting a lot.


You’re either not eating dinner,


or you’re on a fast


during the day,


or you’re cutting out


certain foods.




You know, there’s something


about fasting states


that is very spiritual,


it’s very deep,


it’s very centering.


And there’s a lot


of interesting data


about inner– you know, when we


are in ketosis,


our brain metabolism shifts


profoundly.


Right now, if you’re– if you


ate carbohydrates, your brain is


running on carbs.


Every neuron is firing


on glucose.


If you move


into ketogenic states,


where you’re getting more


ketosis, your brain starts


to shift.


And in ketogenic states,


longer term, up to 75%, 80%


of all brains fuel comes from–




JOHN WHYTE: Yeah, if they’re


done– in fairness, if they’re


done correctly, you know,


there– there


is some prescriptive nature


of the ketogenic diet.


So there– there are


some elements of that.


And you know, there’s–


I could argue there is the DASH


diet as well, where there’s very


good–




DREW RAMSEY: There’s


so– there’s so many diets,


right?


There’s the DASH diet,


there’s Mediterranean,


there’s paleo, there’s Whole30.


There was an amazing study


about ketogenic diets,


looking at three-year outcomes


in diabetics


and showing phenomenal numbers.




JOHN WHYTE: Well, I want to be


fair to the other diets as well.


I mean–




[INTERPOSING VOICES]




DREW RAMSEY: And I– and I think


this is where the public


and clinicians maybe shy away


or get a little confused.


And that’s where nutritional


psychiatry really helps us just


get back to basics.




JOHN WHYTE: I might have to make


some kale mac and cheese


tonight.


Thanks for watching Coronavirus


in Context.




[MUSIC PLAYING]


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here