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  • Writer's pictureanwilner

Food for the Brain and Soul

Many thanks to Uma Naidoo, MD, for joining me on this 20-minute episode of “The Art of Medicine with Dr. Andrew Wilner.” Dr. Naidoo is Director of Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Cambridge, MA, nutritionist, chef, and author of “This Is Your Brain on Food.”

Dr. Naidoo explained that while growing up, she was surrounded by adults who cooked and enjoyed food. While still a child, she learned to bake. With allopathic physicians and Ayurvedic practitioners in the family, she was also exposed to medicine at an early age.

When Dr. Naidoo became a practicing psychiatrist, she realized both the power and adverse events of psychotropic medications. To help her patients discover a more integrative approach, she began her investigation into food and lifestyle modification. Along the way, her journey included formal training as a nutritionist and a chef. Rather than a chore, cooking meals become a welcome, mindful, and creative activity.

Although she still prescribes traditional psychotropic medications, she takes a careful history from her patients, searching for lifestyle factors that may be out of balance. Dr. Naidoo stressed that not only must we take care of ourselves, but our gut microbiome as well. Dr. Naidoo shared healthy food tips for those who frequently eat away from home.

Given that we live during the COVID-19 pandemic, she also offered some nutritional advice to improve immunity, such as Vitamin C from citrus fruits and red bell peppers. She recommended spices such as ginger, garlic, and turmeric for their healing properties.

I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with Dr. Naidoo and learning more about how the proper food and spices can make us healthier and happier. Her book, “This Is Your Brain on Food,” is available on Amazon and other booksellers.

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