I take eating for my mental health seriously. I don’t prescribe to a specific diet or style of eating, but there are numerous studies out there showing that food IS mood. For those of us who fight a mood disorder of any kind, the way we eat can impact brain health.
Because our gut microbiome produces necessary neurotransmitters like dopamine and GABA, plus 90% of our mood neurotransmitter serotonin, what we digest in our gut matters. What we feed our gut impacts what our brain receives.
Not all things will be digested equally by all people. Every BODY is unique, just like every brain is unique. But generally speaking, the foods I list here can be a wonderful addition to any body and brain!
Here are 5 of my favorite mood-boosters that I always try to add to my day:
Dr. Lori Shemek is an award-winning, bestselling author of How to Fight FATflammation, The Ketogenic Key, Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting, and Fire-Up Your Fat Burn. She is a leading health and weight loss expert who has been featured in countless publications and TV shows. She is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.”
In this episode, Dr. Shemek shares about her new book, The Ketogenic Key. She shares what the keto diet is, how ketosis benefits our mental health, benefits of intermittent fasting, how inflammation is a threat to our health and well-being, and practical ways to implement changes to your lifestyle.
Podcast is available on the show page or wherever you get your podcasts!
Key topics addressed:
The importance of the ketogenic diet and how it isn’t a fad
The deal with carbs and sugar
Creating metabolic flexibility
The difference between low carb and keto
Intermittent fasting, autophagy, and mitochondrial biogenesis
The raw broccoli test for hunger
Who should not practice intermittent fasting
Why women NEED protein as we age
The benefits of healthy fat
Types of inflammation and the effects
How to do keto in real life
What kind of alcohol is okay for keto
Her book, The Ketogenic Key, is a perfect guidebook for all things related to ketosis, and is a great way to learn how to enhance your brain and body health in an easy to understand way. It is available wherever you purchase books!
Fat is getting a lot of attention these days. Which is pretty awesome, because does anyone remember Susan Powter and the days of “fat makes you fat?”
Those days are over.
In fact, we now know that our brains MUST have fat. Personally, I think it’s pretty interesting that we have experienced a rise in mental illness and other chronic illnesses following the “fear of fat” campaigns. Could there be a connection? Maybe.
But not all fats are created equally.
Processed, trans fats – the hydrogentated oils we find in all our Doritos and Twinkies and good old standard American packaged food – is extremely damaging to our mental health. These fats increase inflammation and modern day research on mental illness tells us that an increase of inflammatory cytokines in our bloodstream could very well be at the root of mental illness.
To keep inflammation levels in check, we MUST have a healthy balance of fat in our bodies. We NEED fat for vitamin absorption, brain health (our brains are made of fat), heart health, metabolic support, and to keep our hormones functioning as they’re supposed to.
Where to Find Healthy Fats
Avocados, olives, and coconuts are great sources of healthy fat, along with animal sources like ghee, grass fed butter, wild salmon, grass fed beef and omega-3 rich organic eggs (always, always eat the yolks).
Whole nuts and seeds, and their butters like almond butter or tahini
Look for the highest-quality organic oils when shopping. Stay away from genetically modified vegetable oils like corn, canola, safflower, and soybean.
Words to look for: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin, and unrefined. Avoid expeller-pressed, refined, and solvent extracted.
How to Use Healthy Fats:
For cooking at high temperatures (stir frying and baking), try butter, ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil
When sautéing foods, try organic extra virgin olive oil.
Oils like flaxseed, sesame, toasted sesame, walnut, and pumpkin seed are best used unheated in sauces or dressings.
I try to get a healthy fat in at every meal. It keeps me full and my brain clear. I start my day with fatty coffee – French pressed coffee, MCT oil, coconut milk or grass fed butter and sometimes I add in some collagen protein. I blend it altogether and it’s like my own homemade latte. I try not to use bottled salad dressings, and instead make my own. And my pantry is ALWAYS stocked with various raw nuts to snack on or to add to meals.