Dr. Drew Ramsey, MD, psychiatrist, teacher, TEDx speaker, author of four books, and leading innovator in mental health, is bridging the gap between the food we eat and the way it impacts our happiness. What if the key to improving depression, anxiety, stress and never truly feeling happy was as simple as changing the foods we eat?
According to Dr. Drew Ramsey, it is. Drew became turned on to the idea that food and our mental health is more related than we think when he was studying at Columbia University to become a psychiatrist. He started to pay attention to his diet, even becoming a low-fat vegetarian at one point (y’know, before it was trendy), while also learning about the health benefits of fish, healthy fats and Omega-3’s. He’s now on a mission teaching others how to use the power of food, specifically foods that are good for your brain, help balance moods, sharpen brain function and improve mental health.
Drew also thinks we’ve been having the wrong arguments when it comes to eating healthy. Instead of debating over eating meat or not, or things like the keto diet, you should eat foods that decrease inflammation (one of the greatest factors in brain health), are healthy for your gut biome, and help decrease signs of ADHD, depression and anxiety. That doesn’t mean getting rid of your favorite pasta or comfort foods, but finding a way to incorporate more leafy greens or Omega-3 fats with that pasta, for example.
Wondering what foods help improve mental health the most? Some might surprise you! Red beans, mussels, clams, oysters, anchovies, leafy greens, rainbow vegetables, fermented foods and dark chocolate. If you’re thinking, “how am I going to get my kids to eat mussels or anchovies!?”, don’t worry. In Drew’s latest book Eat To Beat Depression And Anxiety he has plenty of recipes that share delicious ways to add these foods to your diet, like his kid-friendly salmon burger sliders. If all else fails, there’s dark chocolate, which Drew says can be a part of your daily eating, not just saved for a special treat.
Did you know depression and anxiety affects 58 million people in the United States alone? We also saw a huge increase in depression and anxiety over the pandemic in the past year, which thankfully has opened up our conversation about our mental health epidemic.
Even if you don’t feel you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, eating the right foods now can help decrease the risk of depression later on or dementia. The reason for that is inflammation. Mental health issues and matters that affect the brain stem from inflammation, and one of the major things that regulate inflammation in the body and the brain are eating the right foods. The same goes for your kids. They might not be struggling with signs of ADHD, depression or anxiety now, but as they grow into teenagers or adults they become more at risk.
If your kids are picky eaters, remember their taste palettes develop over time. Let them evolve while still engaging them with brain-friendly foods that they might eventually enjoy. Try having your kids help you chop vegetables in the kitchen, joining one of Dr. Drew’s brain food challenges on Instagram, or celebrating the healthy foods they do enjoy. For example, when Dr. Drew has a picky eater as a patient at his clinic, he doesn’t focus on the fact that they don’t like kale or oysters, but finds a way to emphasize that they do like avocados or blueberries, which are fabulous for the brain and your gut biome.
“You don’t have to feel like a victim of these symptoms or that you’ll suffer from them for the rest of your life. There are things that we all can do in our everyday lives to improve our mental health.” – Drew Ramsey (15:32-15:41)
Want to give eating for mental health a try, but intimidated to get started? Dr. Drew’s latest book, Eat To Beat Depression And Anxiety, makes it simple with his Kickstart plan which gives you a six week plan that walks you through the key food categories to improve your mental health, helps you identify your challenges in motivation, and shares recipes that will help you enjoy foods you aren’t used to eating. You can take it one step further by signing up for his Eat To Beat Depression e-course, in which Dr. Drew Ramsey gives you a thorough action plan to incorporate brain food into your diet!
How to get involved
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
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- Episode 146: Wendy Reinhardt, President And CEO Of The Produce For Better Health Foundation
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- Episode 144: Lori Castillo, Vice President Of Marketing At NatureSweet And Jesse Appleman, Director Of Fresh Goods Department At Fair Trade USA