Is Food to Blame for Your Anxiety and Depression?

Episode 835 1h 20m


We often hear about food in the context of physical health—eating for a strong heart, healthy weight, and glowing skin. But what about the other impacts of food, like how it makes us feel emotionally and mentally?

The growing field of nutritional psychiatry is shedding light on this profound connection, and it’s something I’m personally really excited about.

On today’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m excited to talk to Dr. Uma Naidoo about the connection between food and mood and how what we eat impacts everything from anxiety and depression to ADHD and more.

Dr. Naidoo and I start our conversation by exploring the limitations of how we diagnose mental health conditions, and she shares the two pivotal moments in her life and career that led her to understand that what we eat has a significant effect on our mental health.

Together, we explore what is driving today’s high rates of anxiety and how food has been overlooked as both a driver and a cure to this issue.

We dive into how the microbes in your gut can influence your mood and the connection between neuroinflammation and the incidences of aggression, division, and polarization that are happening society-wide at rates never before seen.

Dr. Naido explains that medicine may have had the wrong idea when it comes to understanding the link between anxiety and conditions such as irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and autoimmune issues. She suggests that any factor that upsets gut or immune health is likely to upset mental health, too. We know that 70-80% of our immune cells reside in our gut, so it’s no surprise that the health of our gut and our immune system are intricately tied.

An estimated 93% of U.S. adults struggle with poor metabolic health, meaning they have excess abdominal fat, elevated triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, elevated fasting blood sugar, or high blood pressure. It is associated with insulin resistance, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. But, the problems associated with poor metabolic health go beyond physical health. Dr. Naidoo and I talk about the connection between metabolic conditions and mental health, which she calls “metabolic psychiatry.”

Finally, Dr. Naidoo tells us what vitamins and minerals can help reduce anxiety, as well as her tips for putting together what she calls a “low anxiety plate.”

I hope you’ll tune in to this important conversation.


This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, Butcher Box, Pendulum, and BiOptimizers. The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast works with a select group of sponsors to allow for ongoing production and allow it to be zero-cost to anyone who wishes to listen to and watch the podcast.

Topics Covered

  • Understanding the role that food and diet play in mental health issues and treatment


  • Exploring the root cause of anxiety and depression


  • How to eat to calm anxiety


  • The link between inflammation, mental health, and gut health


  • The bidirectional relationship between anxiety and gut and autoimmune connections


  • The link between psychiatric conditions and food sensitivities and allergies


  • The connection between metabolism and anxiety


  • Nutrients and micronutrients to help reduce anxiety


  • Putting together a low-anxiety plate


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Resources Mentioned

Host & Guests


Automatically generated. Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Coming up on this week's episode of the Doctor's Farmacy,

Dr. Uma Naidoo: Moving towards a healthier Whole Foods diet is going to help us change or evolve our metabolism. And maybe we might even lose weight when we do it, but it's going to actually affect anxiety pretty significantly.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Welcome to the Doctor's Farmacy. I'm Dr. Mark Hyman, and this is a place for conversations that matter. And today's conversation is going to matter to all of you because it's about mental health and the failure of our mental health system of psychiatry to deal with the ever expanding crisis of mental health in this country, from deaths of despair, depression, anxiety, and a whole range of..

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Ep. 835 - Is Food to Blame for Your Anxiety and Depression?