This is your Brain on Food – Uma Naidoo, MD

“This Is Your Brain on Food” by Uma Naidoo, MD, delves into the fascinating intersection of nutrition, food, and brain health. As someone who recently transitioned from the US to Thailand, I’ve experienced quite the culinary shift, prompting me to explore how different types of food can impact our brains in various ways.

Dr. Naidoo’s book uncovers the intricate relationship between what we eat and our mental well-being. From anxiety and OCD to PTSD and depression, she illuminates the powerful role that nutrition plays in combating these common mental health concerns.

Having not utilized my nutritional science degree in years, I was eager to gain insights into how specific foods can support mental health. Dr. Naidoo’s practical strategies for optimizing brain function through diet have been both enlightening and empowering. Plus, the included recipes are a bonus!

Overall, “This Is Your Brain on Food” offers invaluable insights for anyone interested in nourishing both body and mind. Highly recommended for those seeking to understand the profound impact of food on mental wellness.


  1. When mental health is affected, the root of the problem is not solely in the brain. Instead, it’s a signal that one or more of the body’s connections with the brain have gone awry.
  2. “Bad digestion is the root of all evil.” “Death sits in the bowel.”
  3. That’s why some people call the gut “the second brain.”
  4. More than 90% of serotonin receptors are found in the gut.
  5. Your brain needs the proper balance of gut bacteria to make the chemicals it needs to stay stable and healthy. The gut needs your brain to be stable and healthy so that it can maintain the proper balance of gut bacteria. If that cyclical relationship is disrupted, it means trouble for both the gut and the brain. An unhealthy gut microbiome leads to an unhealthy brain, and vice versa.
  6. We assume that when a person presents with psychological symptoms, the problem rests solely in the brain. Other organs such as the gut play a role in how we think and feel. We need to examine the whole person and their lifestyle to better treat them.
  7. A study in 2017 demonstrated that 15mg of saffron was as effective as 20mg of Prozac in decreasing depressive symptoms.
  8. Up to 60% of patients with anxiety have IBS. The more severe the anxiety, the more severe the IBS.
  9. When you don’t have trauma to deal with, you have enough brain capacity to take the time to make healthy choices. But a brain that is under fire from fear and painful memories has an entirely different agenda.
  10. Given that your gut “remembers,” it should come as no surprise that it works hand in hand with your brain’s memory systems. The key to that connection lies in the chemicals that make your brain and body function, many of which are regulated by your gut.
Until we solve nutritional problems, no amount of medication and psychotherapy is going to be able to stem the tide of mental issues in our society.
*I take no credit for any of these points.

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No horror books, please!!