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Foods for Thought: Understanding the Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Mental Health

Foods for Thought clearly explains the impact of diet on mental health and provides principles to support one’s mental health with diet.

Understanding nutrition — and the role food plays in physical and mental health — can be incredibly confusing. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Jason Pawloski, RDN, cuts through the confusing, ever-shifting and often conflicting, dietary recommendations from the news and social media.

Foods for Thought introduces you to difficult topics — depression, chronic inflammation, gut-brain axis, ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting — and helps you find which foods and eating patterns are important for your health and lifestyle. Learn what matters most when it comes to healing your gut, feeding your brain and promoting your mental health.

Making lasting and meaningful changes to your diet is possible. So let’s learn to eat right for physical health and happiness.

With a large focus on balance to maintain one’s mental health, Foods for Thought provides the diet principles that aid in achieving that balance. Pawloski presents the research on the current mental health status of individuals today and the impact of diet on the mental health conditions of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, and related psychotic disorders.

Pawloski explains the importance of specific diets by pulling in the gut-brain connection, pointing out the effect of consuming certain nutrients on brain function. For example, Pawloski points out the role of certain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids on the production of the neurotransmitters that regulate mood and sleep, which can help with reducing anxiety. Reducing inflammation with a proper diet is also discussed along with concrete methods of implementing a suitable diet in one’s life for optimal mental health.

This is not a book that is filled with unsubstantiated beliefs. This is a book that presents statements supported by solid research on why particular food choices benefit individuals with certain mental health conditions. Additionally, the research in this book is presented in straightforward language that can be easily understood by all. With a background as a registered dietician and a fitness trainer with 15 years of experience, Pawloski is more than qualified to guide individuals with food choices that positively impact mental health and optimal daily function. This is also a book that recognizes that following a diet that is rich in nutrients has a cost, both in time and funds. Therefore, the final chapters provide guiding principles and methods of consuming prime nutrients in one’s life from a time and cost perspective.

It is important to note that Foods for Thought can also be used for individuals who do not have a diagnosed mental health condition. Pawloski provides the following formula that can be applied to all in our current society where stress levels run high: High Stress + Lack of Self-Care + Poor Diet = Recipe for Disaster. Therefore, a well-researched, easy-to-read book that provides methods of implementing a healthful diet that positively impacts one’s mental health is essential for all.