Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching

Nutritional Psychiatry: The Connection Between Mental Health, Brain Health and Nutrition (Dr. Felice Jacka - Episode #137)

October 21, 2020 Professor Felice Jacka Season 3 Episode 72
Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching
Nutritional Psychiatry: The Connection Between Mental Health, Brain Health and Nutrition (Dr. Felice Jacka - Episode #137)
Chapters
Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching
Nutritional Psychiatry: The Connection Between Mental Health, Brain Health and Nutrition (Dr. Felice Jacka - Episode #137)
Oct 21, 2020 Season 3 Episode 72
Professor Felice Jacka

The connection between our nutrition and both mental health and long-term brain health (e.g., Alzheimer's) is a growing area of interest worldwide. Does what we eat influence more than just our body's physiology? Could it also influence our psyche? The evidence is growing and we are pleased to welcome one of the foremost experts on the subject to this week's episode. Professor Felice Jacka out of Australia is one of the world’s leading experts in the area of Nutritional Psychiatry. She has pioneered research examining how our diet and gut health influence our mental and brain health. Her recent book is titled Brain Changer and it might very well be the game changer you’ve been looking for. 

For more information or questions about health coaching or wellness coaching, please don't hesitate to reach out to us [email protected] or visit https://www.catalystcoachinginstitute.com/

You can also access a full library of health, wellness & performance (and coaching!) resources over at the YouTube Coaching Channel at https://youtube.com/c/CoachingChannel

Show Notes Transcript

The connection between our nutrition and both mental health and long-term brain health (e.g., Alzheimer's) is a growing area of interest worldwide. Does what we eat influence more than just our body's physiology? Could it also influence our psyche? The evidence is growing and we are pleased to welcome one of the foremost experts on the subject to this week's episode. Professor Felice Jacka out of Australia is one of the world’s leading experts in the area of Nutritional Psychiatry. She has pioneered research examining how our diet and gut health influence our mental and brain health. Her recent book is titled Brain Changer and it might very well be the game changer you’ve been looking for. 

For more information or questions about health coaching or wellness coaching, please don't hesitate to reach out to us [email protected] or visit https://www.catalystcoachinginstitute.com/

You can also access a full library of health, wellness & performance (and coaching!) resources over at the YouTube Coaching Channel at https://youtube.com/c/CoachingChannel

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast. I'm your host, dr. Bradford Cooper of the catalyst coaching Institute. And if you've ever been curious about the connection between mental health, brain health and nutrition, you're in the right place. Today's guest professor Felice jacket out of Australia is one of the world's leading experts in the area of nutritional psychiatry. She has pioneered research examining how our diet and gut health influence our mental and brain health. Her recent book is titled brain changer and it might very well be the game changer you've been looking for. She did tell us coming in that she's having a little bit of work done on a roof. So every once in a while, you'll hear a little buzzing here and there, but it's pretty minor. And she was such an incredible guest. You're not going to want to miss it for that reason on the coaching front, we're less than a month away from the final wellness coach certification, fast track of 2020. It's coming up November 14th and 15th, and it's completely virtual. This will set you up for the 2021 national board certification through the MBH WC . So it's perfect timing. If that's something that's on your radar, please note the last five fast-tracks have filled early. So please don't wait. If this is a priority for you all the details of [email protected] or feel free to reach out to us. Anytime. If you have questions, [email protected] for everyone else, please check out youtube.com/coaching channel. As we are closing in on 100 brief videos to enhance your health wellness performance and your coaching available for you to everyone. Now let's cook up some answers with professor Felice Jacka on the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast, professor jacket . It is a pleasure to have you join us tonight. Thanks. Thanks for having me. So let's say I'm pregnant the intersection between nutrition and mental health and brain health. That is such a critical topic at such a critical time. Obviously, how'd you get started on this? Where w where did this journey begin?

Speaker 2:

Well, we know that , um, and this has been the case for quite a while now that unhealthy diet or poor diet is the leading cause of illness and early death now around the globe. And this is because of these massive changes to our food environment, which means that people across the world are eating very, very differently to how they used to eat many, many more of these ultra processed food products and a great deal, less of the fruits and vegetables, grains , cereals, nuts, and seeds. All of those foods that we know are critical to support our health. And , uh, so I've always been quite passionate about food. And when I came into psychiatry research, I was really intrigued to note that the evidence based for nutrition as a fundamental component of good mental health, that evidence wasn't there, the research hadn't been done, which was very different to what you've seen , say, heart disease or diabetes, or what have you. And around this time. So this is in the early two thousands. There were a lot of very, very interesting studies coming out of the States in particular, in the field of neuroscience, a direct impact of diet on this key region of the brain called the hippocampus switches . The one part of the brain that puts new neurons over life. This part of the brain grows and shrinks, and it's critical to our ability to learn and remember things. And also to our men into health. And these animals studies were showing that, you know, if you manipulate diets, you manipulate the size and the function of the hippocampus. And around the same time was this understanding this field called psycho neuro immunology, which was showing just how important the immune system was to mental health. And so what these , um, this new field was telling you , I guess , was that mental health and mental illness. They don't just exist in the brain. These things are whole body disorders. Of course we are not just a brain and a body separated. We are one very complex integrated system. And nutrition of course, influences these key things that we know are important to good mental health or that we were learning were important for good mental health. So I became really intrigued and yeah , I wanted to actually test the hypothesis that the quality of our diets mattered to our mental health. So I did this for my PhD and it was the first study to do this. And it ended up on the front cover of the American journal of psychiatry. So I had a big , okay. And on the basis of that, okay . Able to go on and do a lot more research in many different countries and critically in many different age groups. So right from the start of life. So for example, we looked at the quality of mother's diets during pregnancy and the children's diets in the first few years of life. And we looked at that in relation to their emotional health and regulation over the first years of life, we did this in more than 23,000 mothers. And yeah , wow . When we showed this leap between diet quality and children's emotional health, we saw this in adolescents again and again, and again, independent of these key factors like family economic status in each location and family conflict. And these sorts of things, young people's diets were really in very closely linked to their mental health. And because we know that half of all mental disorders start by the age of 14, this was really, really important understanding because unlike many other risk factors for mental health problems, diet is something that you can change. It's something that you can modify. So we're thinking here about prevention. And then we saw right at the other end of life, this was also true as people age, their risk for depression, where maybe they've never had it before often increases. And we saw that people's diets and the quality of their diet was linked to whether or not they developed depression as they age. And then at the same time, we generated the first human data to show this link between diet quality and the hippocampus, the same as what we'd seen animal studies, but in humans, and that's now also been replicated. And then of course, you know, we , we ran the first randomized controlled trial to show that if you take people with clinical depression, moderate to severe clinical depression, and you help them to improve their diet, it has a major impact on their depressive symptoms. And that it's both affordable to do this and very cost effective. You get big cost savings. So that trial, the smallest trial has been very well known and very impactful. So we now have a very , um, very well developed and consistent evidence-base across countries, cultures, age groups, for the quality of our diet being linked to our risk for these common mental health problems. And we also have some emerging data about how this might be working. And now we're very interested in the gut and the role of the gut in this link. And then we also now have this clinical evidence and that's building, there are more and more studies now showing the same thing. So across the board, we're now starting to really get that the same as with heart disease or diabetes, or what have you, what we eat every day is germane to our mental and brain health, not just to our physical health.

Speaker 3:

So with the smiles trial, can you expand on the significance of that? If you compared it to, they've done similar studies with exercise, they've done similar studies, obviously the medication baseline, how did they compare to something like medication, the nutritional stuff ?

Speaker 2:

Uh , it was a much larger effect, size, much larger, much larger. The caveat is of course, that whilst you can , uh , blind appeal trials , people don't know they're getting the active medication or the placebo. And what we see often in depression trials is this very large placebo response. Uh, you can't do that with diet people know what they're getting to know. And so expectation bias can play a role in that. But what we saw that was very encouraging was that, and this has been the case in other studies since then that have shown the same thing is the degree of dietary change was very closely linked to the degree of depression improvement. In other words, the more people improve their diet, the better off their mental health was. So that tells us that there's something really important there. And it also, we also did these economic evaluations and we showed that there was an average in our study of about $3,000 per participant cost saving. And that was because people were seeing other health professionals less often and losing less time out of role. So this is saying, it's not just benefiting people's mental health, but also their functioning and their physical health as well, which makes sense. So in our smiles trial, we randomly assigned people with moderate to severe clinical to receive either three months of dietary support from a clinical dietician or three months of what we call social support, which we know is helpful for people with depression. And we saw that people could improve their diet , uh, and that the benefits were again, independent of any weight change. And this is an important point because of all the studies we've done, they all show that the link between diet and mental health is quite independent of body weight. So that's why it's important. If you eat a healthy diet, you're more likely to be carrying extra body weight. And that is in turn linked to poor mental health outcomes possibly through the immune system and various other biological systems, but quite independently of that, what you eat matters to your mental and brain health, regardless of what size your body is. And I think that's a really powerful message as well.

Speaker 3:

That is that's fantastic. All right . So I want to talk brain health and mental health separately here. Let's start with the brain health top tips on this front. If someone just wanted the quick version, the synopsis of what people can do to enhance their brain health, not going all the way to mental health, what tips would you throw out there? They're the same, same teacher . That was my follow up question. Excellent.

Speaker 2:

Okay . So , um, the existing evidence is that , um , traditional diets of all types, whether they're Norwegian or Japanese or Chinese or Australian or Mediterranean, they all are associated with better health. And so the key message here is it's increasing the quantity and the diversity of your plant food intake. So that's vegetables, fruits, legumes, very important, we think because of their fiber content . So that should chick peas, lentils, beans, et cetera, nuts and seeds. Um, and of course the whole grain cereals and very important reducing or eliminating the intake of these ultra processed foods. So foods with long lists of ingredients, things that come in packets are that are not really food they're frankenfoods or food products. So they are full of the added sugars, the added salts, the emulsifiers, the artificial sugars, all of which we know , um , having a negative impact on the gut and its resident bacteria, which we think is a key pathway by which what we eat influences our mental and brain health, as well as our physical health, of course.

Speaker 3:

Very good. And that makes it easy for folks. They're not like, Oh, wait, no, do I want mental health or brain health? No, it's the same stuff here. Alright . So as you've done this research, what are some of the big surprises? What are the things that you came out of it saying, well, Hmm . I didn't think I'd find that.

Speaker 2:

I think firstly is how consistent these findings are almost invariably in every single population. And we've looked in, we've seen these , uh, these links and that's , um , important to understand, of course, that it's the same for people all over the world, whatever age range, it matters to your , your mental health, particularly in regards to depression and anxiety, which is where most of the data are so far. The second that the details are not that important. You know, some people will eat red meat, others won't, some people will have lots and lots of fermented foods, others won't depending on their cultural background, that doesn't seem to be important. The details are not important . The important stuff is that you're eating a whole foods diet with lots of plant foods, lots of diversity, hopefully good quality sources of protein. So not processed meats like salamis and hams and things, but good quality sources of protein and very importantly, avoiding those ultra processed frankenfoods because they're the real problem. So that's the other thing. And I guess that's really key is that you don't have to get hung up on the detail . You don't have to go and have organic berries from the Hills tops of Peru, you know, that will hold you in good state. And then you just build on that. And this is very importantly, it's not, you don't do this instead of other forms of treatment, you do this as the foundation, and then if you need other forms of treatment, you do that as well.

Speaker 3:

So well said in so many different ways, the simplicity is such a dry . I think people , uh , we had a guest a couple of months ago and really good information, but it was just so overwhelming that I can't imagine anyone getting past XYZ page and not feeling like I can't do it. And you're saying, well , we'll wait, that's fine. If you want to follow that. But the details, the devil's not in the details, the devil's in stay with the basics high quality. And I love your term. Frankenfoods

Speaker 2:

I think a really important that a germane to that, but also worst surprising findings from a decade now of detailed research into this supplements, Chuck them away. Absolutely, really , uh , except in some cases with people with quite severe major depressive disorder where a full light supplement might be useful in addition to what they're already having a good quality fish oil supplement may be helpful in addition to what they're doing. But in most cases, the supplements, the, the evidence for them is just not really there. And secondly, going back to what I said before, and I think this is so important, body weight is not the issue. And I think so much of the messaging around food has been directed at body weight and the obesity epidemic. Yes, obesity is a major health issue. It's a huge health issue. And it's a reason because of these major changes to our food systems and our industrialized food complexes, it's relates to the increasing availability and , um, palatability of these frankenfoods. They are everywhere. They're heavily promoted. They're really cheap. And they are designed to interact with the reward systems in the brain so that we want more and more of them. And we over eat them. That is key. The other thing is antibiotics, antibiotics have been used throughout the food system throughout, you know, chicken and cattle, et cetera, et cetera. They are given mainly to make those animals put on weight. And we have been consuming them in large quantities through the food system for decades. And that of course has correlated closely with this massive obesity epidemic, but over and above that, because we know that for many, for most people, even if they take weight off, it will come back on. Losing weight is very, very difficult. Forget about that. Concentrate on increasing the quality of your diet and feeding your gut bacteria. And you will get all of these benefits, even if your body weight doesn't change.

Speaker 3:

Good. Very, very well said. All right . So you, I loved your emphasis on the evidence. One of our goals here on this podcast, as I said in the introductory email to you is we want to throw the headlines off to the side. We want to crush the fads as much as we can, because there's so many of those in our industry and really dive into the evidence. What are some, just to have some fun with this, what are some of the headlines and fads that you hear them, you see them and you just shake your head like, Oh my word, are you kidding me? Based on what you know, so we won't spend three hours on this, just have some fun with it.

Speaker 2:

Honestly, there's just such a vested interest in so many people in selling their supplements, et cetera, they often are MDs. Then they use that MD qualification too , because how was it someone in the general population supposed to know that , uh , someone with an MD , um, you know, is not the expert on these things and shouldn't actually be promoting non-evidence based information. And I feel really strongly about this for me. I think there's an ethical imperative here as a clinician to only be promoting something that has a good evidence base, the paleolithic diet, Oh my goodness. The , um, the ketogenic diet, I mean the ketogenic diet, very serious, strict medical diet that we know has benefits in epilepsy. This is where the evidence is. We see in the randomized control trials that exist in humans, that they can have severe and serious medical consequences. Even for young healthy people. We are running a pilot study on the ketogenic diet, a healthy version of the ketogenic diet in a population with psychosis. But at this stage, the human evidence is just not there. And yet it is being heavily promoted. Now it may be that in some psychiatric populations , such as those with psychosis, it may be beneficial. That's a very big difference to saying for everybody, they should be going on a ketogenic diet. And again, this is mainly driven by a desire for weight loss. And I get it that if you , uh , living surrounded by the sad, which is this , um, standard American diet, which is full of , uh, frankenfoods that something that breaks that , um, addiction to those high sugar processed foods is really powerful because it helps you to turn your back on those and just go eat something else. It doesn't mean it's a good thing to be doing based on the evidence. So until we have actual human data that tells us that this is a safe and effective way to go about improving anything, seriously, just don't do it. Do what the evidence tells us, which is absolutely overwhelmingly in favor of that Mediterranean style diet diets that are high in plant foods, diversity and low in ultra processed foods.

Speaker 3:

Very good, very good. Any others that make you, and they don't have to be diet specific, but anything that you're seeing out there and that conflicts with your research,

Speaker 2:

Gluten-free, you know, this, the idea this, this , uh , gluten sensitivity and everything else. What we know is that the diversity in the health of our gut microbiota has massively diminished over decades. As our sources of food have become more and more , um, refined and also monotonous. If you like, and we've lacked diversity and we don't have anywhere near enough fiber to , to feed our guts, we blast our guts with antibiotics, our gut microbiome in , in the West , uh , very often sad, sad, sad, and this then makes it very difficult to happily digest. The foods that we know are the most critical substrates for the gut microbiota to do what they do. And these are the foods that are high in FODMAPs. They're the whole grain cereals and they're the, the onions and things like that. So people often have very grumbly guts because their diets are terrible, their microbiota, or a really, really sad. And they think that the answer to that then is removing those foods that your bacteria need to actually thrive. Now, in the short term, you'll get a reduction in symptoms when you do that, but you will also have a detrimental impact on your gut. So as one of my students said so beautifully, the answer to a problem with beans is actually more beans, but you do it gradually. And you , you increase, you don't take gluten out of your diet, that non gluten , um, you know, non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It's not actually a thing it's not supported by the research evidence. People are reacting to the high complex carbohydrates in grains because their guts are just not up to managing it. So what you do is , um , hopefully with the help of a dietician , take the FODMAPs out of your diet. You go on a low fiber , but for a while , and then you gradually reintroduce them with a focus on improving the health of your gut. So that means including fermented foods, including probiotics, doing things that gradually over time can improve the health of your gut microbiome, but this issue of non diverse, unhealthy guts, and that that, which then flows on to a detrimental impact if every bit of our health and functioning is a major issue and how we address that is unclear in many cases. So just for an example, in cancer therapy, we see that in cancer, we've had this major revolution in recent years with the application of immunotherapy first in melanomas, and now more they're being trialed more widely in different types of cancers. And this is a very different way of treating cancer from what we've had before, which has been chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Now only about 20 to 40% of people will respond to immunotherapy. But if they do respond, it's very powerful. You often get people having, you know , a complete miraculous remission of cancer where they've really been at dead store . So we want to know why is it that some people respond really well and other people don't, it seems to be about the gut. So these are not just animal studies. These are large human cohort studies showing that people who respond to immunotherapy have a healthier gut microbiome. What does that look like? It's a diverse microbiome. It's a D it's a microbiome that has these, what we call probiotic bacteria, the bifidobacteria, the lactobacillus, the Akkermansia. These are the bacteria that we know are living in the guts of people who have a diet that's high in a diverse range of plant foods and healthy foods, and who don't consume those Franklin foods. And because so many people have such an unhealthy microbiome, what they're actually doing, and there's two trials underway at the moment is they're taking poo from the people who have responded to the immunotherapy, and they're doing a poo transplant into the people who haven't. And we think that fecal transplants in the first instance, until we , uh , get to the guts, if you like, of, of what makes a healthy microbiome, and this is a very, very complex thing , as you can imagine, but the poo transplant seemed to be holding promise. And the initial results from some of those studies presented a poster at a big cancer conference are that , uh , people had seen shrinkage in their tumors and some outcomes that looked to be pointing in the right direction. There's cancer trial, where they're taking people who are at high risk of colon cancer, or who have already had colon cancer. And they're getting them to eight beans every day. They're saying, here you go have half a tin of Navy beans beans a day. That's all we're doing is just that, that addition to your diet, because we know that beans are just some of the most potent , uh , food for your gut bacteria fiber. Yeah. So if you think about the gut bacteria, you know, we have , we have trillions of bacteria that live all on us and in us, and up until, you know , a couple of decades ago, we thought bacteria were bad. You know, we're focused on the pathogenic bacteria, the ones that can make us sick. We now understand that we have co-evolve with these commensal bacteria. We can't live without them. They can't live without us. They're all over our bodies and all our nooks and crannies. And they play a very, very important role in our health, the largest reservoir of bad bacteria in our gut. And what they primarily do is break down the components of food that we can't break down ourselves. And that's fiber and polyphenols, which used to be called antioxidants. They're from plant foods. And we in the West, of course, don't have anywhere near enough of these. And we don't have anywhere near enough of the dietary fiber. Now, when the bacteria break down, these dietary fibers in polyphenols, and this is very, very complex, but this is what we know thus far, they break it down through a process of fermentation and their process of fermentation produces many, many, many metabolites. Some of these are neurotransmitters . Some of them are vitamins, and some of them, many of them are what we call short chain, fatty acids, these interact with every single cell in the body, they help to affect what genes get turned on and off. They seem to have a very important role in affecting our body weight in our blood glucose and insulin. In our immune system, something like 70% of our immune functioning is actually a function of what happens in the gut and the health of our gut. And increasingly we understand that they also influence our mental and our brain health and is relevant to obviously mental disorders, but also Alzheimer's disease and dementia and how we age. So if you don't feed your gut, that basic substrate that it needs, which is fiber and polyphenols, it can't do these things. And in the West, we don't eat anywhere near enough of the fibers and the polyphenols that we need for our guts to do the thing. And then we also blast them with antibiotics and we sanitize the hell out of everything. And so our microbiome is become this sad, flacid, limp, little lettuce leaf, instead of the big flourishing rainforest that it should be. And that has huge implications for health, their longevity, that if the next generation and indeed actually the survival of the human race. And it means that we're incredibly prone to , uh , new viruses that come along, knock us off our perch because our microbiome, thus our immune system adjust , not able to deal with it. And so you'll see in relation to covert of course, much higher death rates in people who have chronic co-morbid chronic diseases that are linked to poor lifestyle behaviors. Now that doesn't mean we should be blaming those individuals for eating badly. What it means is that we've allowed our food environment to be so toxic that people who don't have access to means, or to , to knowledge are consuming. These frankenfoods, that are destroying their health, destroying their gut microbiota, making them very unwell. And then when a virus comes along, they got nothing, no chance . They go by chance. And so this is an issue of poverty. It's an issue of the food system and a lack of food policy. And when you understand that something like 70 of the top 100 biggest companies in the world produce these frankenfoods and derive untold billions of dollars from doing so. And here, we're talking about Unilever and Nestle and Coca Cola and these huge multinational organizations, they now account for a change . Now food systems around the globe, such that poor diet is now the leading cause of illness and early death across the globe. And they do so in a way that is completely unmitigated. There are virtually no policies at the government level anywhere to restrain them and to release what they're doing. And so now frankenfoods are, as I said, the most widely available, the most heavily marketed, the most palatable, the cheapest of the food options. And because they're designed to interact with the reward systems in our brain, we are not equipped to say no to them when they are everywhere we go. It's like being a junkie and having a crack down on every corner and being accepted, expected to just walk past them. That's not how our brains work. So the failure of food policy around the globe, the failure of governments to address the activities of these large industrialized food companies that are destroying the health of the population, but also the planet. It at the same time, without anything standing in their way, that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. It does my headache . It's so short sided . I mean, humans are very shortsighted. That's why we're charging towards the end of the human race, fire , climate change without doing anything about it. But because you know, the obesity epidemic, which is the marker of these changes in the food system has happened over many rather than straight away. People don't see it as the emergency that it is. They respond strongly to an acute emergency like COVID, but they don't recognize that this huge emergency of what's happening to population health is actually it's massive and far bigger than COVID similarly antibiotic resistance. And the fact that we will very soon find ourselves in a situation unless we come up with some very, very clever solutions where we no longer have access to antibiotics and that where people will die from minor scratches, that's not being talked about. You know , so the human race is, is, you know, really at a precipice, but it just drives me mad that these companies are allowed to make trillions of dollars worth of profit at the expense of global health and the environment without anything standing in their way.

Speaker 3:

Let me, let me take us down a little different path here. And it's not really a fair question because you've talked about the variety is a big key to this, but could you give us just a sample day? I know there's no such thing as a perfect day of eating, but just as people are listening, they're like, Ooh, maybe I could do more beans, but where would I put that? Like, could you just like to do a, a , a good day, not the good day?

Speaker 2:

Well, there's very simple things . So if you're starting from a pretty, not so great base, you, you said your standard American diet. So there's, there's what I might eat. Someone who's a nutrition professional. Who's always eaten a pretty healthy diet. So what I would start the day with is probably , uh, oats weather. And these would be not processed oats, but unprocessed oats that I've maybe soaked overnight or just , um, uh , you know, cook on the stove, but porridge and I would put in some crushed almonds, you know, I'd just get some almonds in a mortar and pestle and pop them in for that, that the protein and the fiber and the really important fatty acids and a bit of soy milk. Cause I like , you know, and again, this is not the whole process soy milk. This is made with whole beans, or I would have a piece of sourdough rye toast with some sardines , really great source of long chain fatty acids, or I would have some black rice or really love black rice full of polyphenols, full of resistant starch to feed your gut bugs. We've , you know, some frozen berries and some nuts, something like that. But from people who, you know, making a transition from st Cheerios or some sort of really highly processed breakfast food, you would maybe go towards eggs and baked beans on a piece of toast. That would be a good transition to start with. And then you would hopefully add in maybe some more veggies over time, you know, breakfast veggies. I like to cook up tomatoes and zucchini and spinach and mushrooms, things that cook very quickly that have a high water base with an egg and breakfast machine . I call it , um , in my book. And , um, and lunch again, you might have, if you're moving from lunch that might've been a white bread subway type role , you might move then just gradually to have , um, a less refined bread and more salad in that bread roll. And maybe have , um , some tuna tinge sooner rather than have a snips or something like that. For me, I would have lots and lots of lettuce leaves I would put in some pre cooked black rice. I would put in some crushed nuts. I would put in , um, some tinned lentils, probably. So tin lentils and tin chickpeas are a brilliant way to just add fiber really easily. You can just tip them into salads. You can put them into your SPAG bowl. If you're making speck bowl , uh, you can put them in all sorts of things on the weekends. I get out the crockpot, you know, the slow cooker, you can get almost anywhere, almost nothing. And I just put in veggies, I put in Bali, which is a fantastic chewy, whole grain , uh, I'd put in beans. Um, and you could, if you were eating meat, put in, you know, a lamb Hawk or something like that, tomatoes, some herbs put it on the slow cooker and there you've got stew for the week. So those sorts of things where you, you , um, uh, just making those basic swaps. And then of course, you know, your sweets rather than having you highly processed foods, which have got the emulsifiers and the sugars and artificial sugars, et cetera, you know, a good quality Greek yogurt with , um, some frozen berries on top and some honey, that's a great one, you know, a few pieces of really dark chocolate. That's another good one dates, you know, there's lots of things that you can do for the sweet tooth as well.

Speaker 3:

Okay. Very good. Very good. Thank you. Um, okay, let's go with this one. If you were to identify three non-negotiables and you may have covered your nonnegotiables already, but if you're gonna identify three non-negotiables in terms of brain health, mental health, what, what would be the three that you would say? Absolutely. And again, I, as I'm asking that , I'm thinking, I think you've identified multiple. What would be your big three?

Speaker 2:

I was like , I think , um , obviously upping your intake of fruits and vegetables, particularly vegetables and the diversity, and that would include particularly your leafy greens. I think they'd be a non-negotiable. So this, you know , I like spinach and kale and , um, silver beet and watercress and , um, parsley and lots of things that I just grow in the garden. Um, second would be legumes. I think if you, it's very hard for you to hit your fiber goals without legumes. So lentils chic , peas, beans, you know, soy beans. So at a mommy beans or , um , tofu, or even baked beans, you have baked beans on toast. These are all beans and they are all really potent forms of fiber. That would be number two. And number three would be, do not eat the Frankenfood

Speaker 3:

And that one was coming. All right . Very good. Ready ?

Speaker 2:

The inadvertent commerce healthy. Frankenfoods the protein bars and the, you know, these highly processed so-called health foods. They're not foods they're, frankenfoods,

Speaker 3:

That's good to clarify. Absolutely. All right . Is it ever too late if someone's been following the wrong habits and they're in their forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, is it like, you know, what, what am I going to do at this point? Or does it change?

Speaker 2:

No it's . And what we know is that you can affect change in your gut microbiota within hours, by changing your diet, to get the really sustained benefits where you start to get back in that microbial diversity after it's been lost, because you haven't fed your , your bugs and you've lost them all that can take a couple of years. So, but we see from the trials in humans, that you can increase your diversity over time by making those switches and increasing the, the, the fibers and, and the , the, the bug food. So it might take 18 months or so, but you will get that benefit, but you were based on the research evidence so far, you will get benefits to your mental and brain health within a very short timeframe, like within weeks, by making those switches to your diet. And you'll start to see improvements in your gut health, even before then. There's a fantastic study of gut health, where they looked at the gut microbiomes of American African Americans living and eating as sad. And then they looked at the gut microbiome of South Africans, Africans living a more traditional lifestyle in South Africa. So as been seen many times in these studies, the microbiome of the people living a more traditional lifestyle with a far higher intake of plant foods and a lower intake of animal proteins and fats, they had a much healthier microbiome. It was more diverse. It had many more of these short chain, fatty acid producers that we know are really important for health and much lower levels of these markers of risk for colon cancer. And of course, the African Americans, they had the opposite, they had a horrible diet, their microbiome look terrible, and they had high levels of these, these cancer risk markers. Then they swapped their diets for just two weeks. So the poor South Africans got sad and then the African Americans got a much more healthful diet. And within two weeks you saw this shift so that the poor South African cancer markers went up and their gut microbiota went down within two weeks. Now, Tim Spector , who's a buddy of mine. Who's a professor of genetic epidemiology over at Kings college in London. And he's head up the massive numbers of studies in large twin cohorts, where they really start to delve into what's genetics, what's diet, et cetera, et cetera. And he's done lots of work. He's written two books. These last one's just been released called diet and meats. And I recommend it. It's a goodie, his son , uh, you know, typical young man in his twenties. He elected as a little bit of an experiment for television to put himself on a junk food diet. And I think he did that for 10 days where he just ate nothing, but , but said for 10 days, Hey, according to the book of his, his new book that I'm just reading, he had such a major impact on his gut microbiome within that 10 days, a major drop in diversity and markers of health. And it took him something like 18 months to get it back again. You can do a lot of damage very quickly, and it can take a long time to get better, but you can actually get it better. So if you've been living an eating a said for many years, all is not lost, you can still make those changes and get a benefit. It will just take time.

Speaker 3:

Perfect. Perfect. All right , two more. I'm going to bring it back to you a little bit here on this next one. How are you applying your , your research in your own life differently than you were, let's say a decade ago?

Speaker 2:

Um , it's a really good question. I have just been through cancer, you know, breast cancer , um, and very extensive treatment, which has been revolting. I recognize that whilst I understand about what a healthful diet looks like, I'm not always the best person at doing it because my work schedule is extremely intense, high levels of stress, a lot of travel and jet lag, which is very bad for the March , uh, too much alcohol, which many professionals use to de stress at the end of the line , all of those traps that you fall into weight gain as a result, particularly when you hit menopause. So even though fundamentally, I think my diet was pretty good. I still wasn't consistent enough with exercise. I still let myself , uh, you know, my body weight went up and I was still really, really pushing the envelope with stress overwork and travel now between cancer and COVID, I am now not traveling. I'm getting lots of wrists . I make sure that I exercise every day for me, exercise is my medicine. I half an hour uphill walking on the treadmill, the heart rate up my, you know, my sweat pouring , uh , and just being more careful about my food and my alcohol intake. That to me, is my medicine to prevent cancer returning. So I'm just small mindful now. And I know a lot of researchers in my field who are similar, who understand the research evidence, but just the impact of our very intense work pressure . You know, we don't always do what we say. Are we going to do? I've got a great a buddy who is a very well known Alzheimer's disease researcher. And he was very, very overweight. He would sleep only a few hours a night, ridiculous hours. He would eat the burger. And I remember talking with him at conferences and he'd be saying, look, our data are telling us that a healthy diet and getting enough sleep and exercise is absolutely essential for a version of dementia risk. And then he'd say obese wedding. Oh , but who can resist the burgers ? Hate him for a couple of years. Cause he was on the other side of the country and I ran into him in a conference and he was like half the size that he was the last time I'd seen him. And I said, what happened? And he said, yeah, I had a heart attack. He goes , pull you up short. And he goes, now I actually do what I practice what I preach and I've changed my diet. I sleep, I exercise all of those things. So , um, there's a lot of , uh, personal experience when you have a health issue that really makes you start to pay more attention, but it's a bit sad that it has to come to that for humans to do that.

Speaker 3:

It is. And , and it's interesting because our audience is filled with people like you that are high performers and, you know , type AAA . And even though most of us are very interested in health and wellness. Yeah. It's just so easy to get off track when you're dialed in over here. And so that's a , that's a great example. Thanks for, thanks for pulling the curtain back for us on that one last question. I don't know if you're ever on Twitter, but Twitter allows 140 characters, which is about two or three sentences. If you had a chance to tweet some message out some life message, it doesn't have to be about nutrition, whatever you'd like to do here to end that the whole world would see your tweet tomorrow. What would you say? And we're not counting characters here, so you can, don't worry about that, but it's just something short. And to the point that this is your chance to get your message out to the world. Oh gee, no pressure.

Speaker 2:

You know, just what you put in your mouth matters to your mental and brain health. Yeah . If people could understand that, I think it's a much more powerful, a leverage point for behavior change. Because if you tell humans that if you eat unhealthy and I'll put that in inverted commas one day, you might have a heart attack. It doesn't mean climate change, right ? If you say what you eat today is going to affect the way you feel tomorrow, that your ability to learn and remember, and do your job and everything that's powerful, you know , and that you can make these changes pretty easily. And we've shown that you can do it in a way that's affordable, simple , uh, and have a big impact on your health. But there's lots of things I'd like to say,

Speaker 3:

We'll get you the extended Twitter option there with , with all this stuff.

Speaker 2:

Well, the other thing I'd say is that industrialized food industry food system is costing the globe in terms of health and the environment $12 trillion a year now by 2050, that's expected to be 16 trillion, which is equivalent to the whole GDP of China every year. That's the cost.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but China is a really small country. So I don't know if that's really, so professor jacket best way for folks to follow you. This has been so good. I knew from our conversation, looking at some of the things you've done, that this would be really valuable, but this was really valuable. How can people follow what you're doing? What's the best way to keep track of you and your books and those kinds of things.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I am on Instagram, but I'm much less engaged with Instagram, but Twitter I'm on Twitter. There are food and mood center. People look up at the food and mood center website. We've got huge amounts of information written in a way that's designed to be accessible to the general public. Really importantly, we have designed a free online course on nutritional psychiatry. It's very, you know, aimed at the lay level. It's , uh , we're also doing ones for professionals, but this one's designed to be accessible to everyone. And since our first running of it, less than a year ago, we've had close to 60,000 people for more than 160 countries in roll and go through that course. So that's a really great way for people, Google , uh, food and mood. FutureLearn, they'll find it very easily. And that is a great way to find out about nutritional psychiatry. You can also get my book, a published last year, brain changer, which brings together all of the scientific knowledge that we have around nutritional psychiatry today . And my new book that I've just written with my husband is a kid's book. It's called, there's a zoo in my poo , and it's designed to give kids and their parents really basic, helpful information that allows them to make healthy food choices, to feed their gut bacteria in a way that is fun.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. Beautiful. You can't forget that book name. That was, that was a good one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a good one. And it was fun. I wrote with my husband and he did all the crazy drawings of the little bacteria. So it was a fun thing to do.

Speaker 1:

Very fun. Very fun. Well, thank you for figuring out time zones with me across the world. This was great having you and let's definitely stay in touch. Stay one step to date on what you're up to. Yeah. Good luck with everything. Thanks for having me. You're welcome. Take care. Keep it simple and avoid the frankenfoods two out of a long list of great insights from professor Felice jacket. I definitely have some changes I'll be making. Thank you for tuning into the number one podcast for health and wellness coaching. Next week's guests . Someone we've been trying to get for a couple of years. Greg McKeown author of one of my favorite books in years. Essentially funny story on how that one came to be, but you'll have to it into hearing two quick things. Number one, please check out the youtube.com/coaching channel. We've been pouring a ton of time, money, and energy into those videos. And we would love to hear if you find them helpful. And then number two, if you're thinking about pursuing your coach certification, pop over to catalyst coaching institute.com to get details on the last fast track of 2020 before it fills up. Now let's go time folks. Let's turn the corner shift gears and step on the gas toward

Speaker 4:

Better than yesterday. This is dr. Bradford Cooper,

Speaker 1:

The catalyst coaching Institute, make it a great rest of your week. And I'll speak with you soon on the next episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast, or maybe over on the YouTube coaching channel.