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Resilience Agenda Radio - Talking Food, Gut-Health and Nutrition & Mental Health with Felice Jacka - Ep. 9

27 Jul 2023

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In this episode, we sort out fact from fiction when it comes to the impact of food and diet on our overall health, and in particular our mental health.

We discuss the impact several ground-breaking scientific studies that show that what we eat impacts our mental health, how eating healthy isn’t as hard as it sounds, and we learn dozens of tips and techniques for improving what goes on our plates and in our mouths.

What You Will Learn:

The ground-breaking research in the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry.

How eating healthy can improve our overall health independent of whether we lose weight or not.

How modifying diet is able to produce dramatic effects on anxiety and depression symptoms.

Why carbohydrates are not the enemy of good health and are in fact essential for optimal health.

The role of gut-health in improving overall and mental health.

The best foods to start incorporating into our meals and a summary of the bad stuff to reduce.

Today’s Guest: Felice Jacka

Felice Jacka is a nutritional psychiatrist, leading nutrition researcher, Director of the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University, President of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research and the author of “Brain Changer: How Diet Can Save Your Mental Health” and “There’s a Zoo in My Poo”, a children’s book designed to encourage children to eat better. Felice joins us from regional Victoria in Australia.


Food & Mood Centre – Deakin University

Future Learn (Free Course) – Improving Mental Health Through Diet & Nutrition

‘Brain Changer’ Book – Felice Jacka

‘There’s a Zoo in My Poo’ Book – Felice Jacka & Rob Craw

‘The Inflamed Mind Book’ – Edmund Bullmore

Kevin Bass

Megan Rossi – ‘The Gut Health Doctor’

Quotes by Felice Jacka

“We look at people’s diets and the quality of people’s food and we see that they impact mental health.”

“If you say to people, you’ve got to eat well otherwise you’ll have a heart attack, it’s off in the distance, and it just doesn’t cut through. If you make it about body weight, and people invariably try to lose weight and then they put it back on, they keep eating the burgers because they give up. The new knowledge that nutrition affects our mental health, really very quickly, it gives people something much more concrete, it leads to behaviour change becomes immediately salient.”

“It’s only more recently that we’ve come to undersand that there are modifyable thing we can change to increase our resilience, to reduce our risk, or if you have a condition already to improve your condition. They are sleep, not smoking, movement, diet.”

“It’s really important for people to understand that the quality of what people eat is important for their overall health, quite independent from their bodyweight.”

“What we know about the bugs that live in our gut is that we need to feed them. And you need to feed them fibre and polyphenols, which are key components of plant foods.”

“Less than half a percent of children get their recommended servings of vegetables each day.”

“If you feel that you’ve got the power to make those small changes yourself, even if you just do them very gradually, you have the power in your own hands to make very large changes to your health.”

“Carbohydrates are the key. If you look at all the research that has been done across the world, the food group that has the strongest association with better health outcomes is wholegrain cereals. Even more than vegetables.”

“With a high protein, low carb diet, people’s gut health go down the toilet…One of the worst things you can do for your gut health is to reduce wholegrain fibre and increase protein. Yes you might lose weight, and you’ll have greater reproductive capacity, but you’ll die sooner.”

Episode 9: Resilience Agenda Radio Podcast

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