Can We Optimize Our Diet and Fitness Habits to Achieve Better Mental Health?

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Dr. Chris Palmer talks about the connections between mind, body, and plate—and he answers questions about how what we eat and how we work out can change our state of health.

Having a good diet and regular exercise regimen has plenty of physical health benefits. But what do they do to our mental health? Is it possible to optimize our dietary and workout habits to achieve better mental health?

Audience Questions

Dr. Palmer answers these questions:

  • With your research, what have you discovered to be optimal “brain foods”? Are there specific nutrients that make foods better for your mind than others?
  • How do you start an exercise routine and stick with it? Are there any tricks or things you can recommend for keeping on track?
  • What types of vigorous yet low-impact exercise do you recommend?
  • I have started drinking smoothies each day and adding vegetables to them. When moving to a more plant-based diet, are there concerns around taking in too much fiber?
  • Are there any foods that have been shown to be beneficial as it relates to boosting memory?
  • If am interested in starting on the keto diet, what should the first steps be?
  • Do people experience any type of withdrawal symptoms when starting on the keto diet?
  • What are your thoughts on fasting?
  • Are there known ways to improve metabolism?
  • As a clinician, how can we convince patients of the importance of diet and exercise in their recovery? Are there things we can do to help them?
  • Which foods do you recommend avoiding for someone who is prediabetic?
  • Would you briefly talk about McLean’s upcoming online Healthy Aging course?
  • There is a lot of conflicting information around the benefits of a daily multivitamin. Any thoughts on this?
  • Do you know if anyone is looking into the role of diet in individuals with autism? Are there any known correlations between the diet of people living with autism spectrum disorder and their behaviors?
  • Are there any known correlations between exercise and teen angst/ups and downs/moodiness?

About Dr. Palmer

For over 20 years, Christopher M. Palmer, MD, has focused his clinical work on treatment-resistant cases, and recently he has been pioneering the use of the ketogenic diet in psychiatry, especially treatment-resistant cases of mood and psychotic disorders. He is currently the director of the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Learn more about Dr. Palmer.

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