The Recipe for a Nourished Brain – Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta

So, I mean, it’s the old adage you are what you eat. When I eat like sugary or caffeinated foods, I often find myself, like, unable to focus. So eating healthier foods has had a significant impact on how well I can focus, as well as how quick I can think.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


‘That’s Angela Guo. She’s a 17 year old senior at Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois. And that adage she just cited – you are what you eat – that’s been around since the 1800s. People have known for a long time just how much food affects us. But it’s not just in terms of long-term health, but also short-term mood.

Food really helps us maintain a stay of clarity. And so eating healthier foods has had a significant impact on how well I can focus, as well as how quick I can think.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


She may only be in high school, but Angela has already made the crucial connection between what she puts in her mouth and how quickly that affects her brain. She even believes that simple understanding gave her a real advantage when she competed in the National Science Olympiad tournament earlier this year.

National Science Olympiad.


First place national champions of the 2023 Science Olympiad National Tournament…Adlai Stevenson High School.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Now, at this tournament earlier this year, Angela and her teammates went up against thousands of students from around the country. They were competing in events, highlighting chemistry and earth, science and biology. But here’s the thing: the entire time on Angela’s team, you really didn’t see much sugar around. Instead, there were lots of healthy snacks.

So even at school, I bring my own lunch. And it’s just that aspect of knowing what goes into your meals is is, like, really important. It kind of gives you peace of mind.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


‘The team did really well, and now as they prepare for more tournaments, Angela, who’s now a team captain, says, sure, they do study hard. But what they eat – how they eat – that’s also top of mind.

‘When we do travel for sites like that, our coaches always make sure that our bus is well-stocked with fruits and water.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


So Angela seems pretty convinced that food helps her focus and perform well academically. Of course, that makes sense. But the question today, what is the empirical evidence to support that? And how does it work? How exactly does food impact the brain? And how do we really know when our brain is well nourished?

Sugar is not good for our brain. But I also want people to understand we need sugar for our bodies and our brains. So it’s where you get the sugar that’s important.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Look, a lot of people worry about how food influences the way we look, how much weight we may gain. I get that. Or the likelihood we’re going to be at higher risk for diseases like diabetes and hypertension. But even though it is harder to measure, food is also deeply connected to how we feel in the moment and how well the brain functions. Even as you listen to this podcast, your experience right now is likely affected by what you ate earlier today. So in this episode, I’m going to find out what’s the best fuel for the brain, what foods we should avoid, and what it really means to have a well nourished brain. I’m Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, and this is Chasing Life.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


‘You know, I love hearing stories like Angela’s. They’re so personal. She is someone who’s paying attention to her body, and then she’s figuring out what makes her feel good and what it takes to do the activities she loves. She’s being really intentional with her nutrition, and it may save her from having health problems later in life, but it could help optimize her function now. For me, food is an endless source of fascination. The way that I think about it is this food is one of the most significant ways we allow our outside world to influence and communicate with our inside world, the world inside of our body and our mind. That is an awesome task. Food does that. So I thought today we would start with the basics. We know that all food items have calories, and calories are by definition, energy. But as you just heard, not all calories are created equal. Some have more nutrients and do more to promote overall health and well-being than others. And that is especially true when it comes to the brain. But the challenge, again, that’s hard to measure. There is no brain scan or blood test that indicates that a particular food promotes brain health. So how do we really know? How do you really know what works for you? To find out, I return to someone whose work I really respect, both in the clinic and in the kitchen. Someone who knows a lot about this really intricate connection between food and brain health.

If you want your brain to really be optimized, lean into the foods you like, but healthy versions of them.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


That’s Dr. Uma Naidoo. She’s a nutritional psychiatrist. Such a cool field. She’s at Harvard Medical School. What she does is she works with patients to improve their mental health with the help of medication and food. She’s also a professional chef. She’s the author of the books “This Is Your Brain on Food” and “Calm Your Mind with Food.” That one’s going to be released later this year. Now, I should tell you, this is actually Dr. Naidu’s second time on the show. We spoke a few years ago about the broader concept of food as medicine. And I was so fascinated by the conversation, so affected by it, I asked her to come back to discuss how food impacts brain health specifically and brain function.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


I have long said that I think food can be medicine. I also think just philosophically, we consciously decide what signals we’re going to give to the inside of our body through food. What the discussion is primarily focused on has been calories and energy. And are you getting overweight or not?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


So what are those foods that are both good for the brain and can actually get to the brain?

What I think is good and I think what is helpful for people, especially in the US, is that most people are consuming the standard American diet, which, as you know, it’s called, SAD for a reason. So any time that we can add those leafy greens, those actual whole foods onto our plate and think about it that way and step away a little bit from those processed, processed foods, the healthier we are going to become as a country. And I think that is because processed, ultra processed foods are engineered, as you know, to trick our brain. So we eat more and we we can’t stop ourselves.

‘Yeah, maybe I’m being audacious here in doing a podcast about how to achieve a most optimally nourished brain. And as you correctly point out. We have a lot of work to do as a country to just stop doing the bad things, maybe even before we can really, really focus on the good things. But the idea that food itself can be medicine and that can be quantified, maybe even to the point for someone like you prescribed. Are we to the point with what we know data-wise that food can be thought of prescriptive like we think of medicine?

So I can’t yet say to you, you need to eat ten blueberries over this amount of time to improve your mood. But what we do know from large population based studies that if you are consuming extra dark metal chocolate, that it improved depression by 70% and over 12,000 participants. We know and it wasn’t the candy bar, wasn’t this extra dark matter or chocolate which contained serotonin, magnesium, some fiber. So we’re not at the point where I can say, eat this number of blueberries in order to improve your mood. But we are definitely emerging and growing and the scientific evidence to be able to say you can construct a nutritional psychiatry plate for your mood. You can lean into those leafy green vegetables 3 to 5 cups a day. Things like a arugla, spinach all containe folate. A low folate is associated with low mood. So we can give people guidance around it and really have them understanding that food is moving in that direction.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Now, before we hear more food recommendations, I want to note something that’s I think really important here. The term “brain food” that gets thrown around a lot. But true brain food, meaning any food that actually impacts the function of the brain, has to do something really important. It’s got to get past the blood brain barrier. Now, I don’t want to get too wonky or technical, but I think it’s important for you to understand this point. Think of the blood brain barrier as sort of a bodyguard for the brain. This barrier prevents the entry of toxins and pathogens and other molecules that could be harmful to the brain. What it looks like is a system of blood vessels around the brain and the central nervous system that sort of keep tight control over which molecules and which nutrients are allowed to get in.

We know there’s, for example, a lot of serotonin that’s manufactured in the gut. There’s also some in the brain. But the you know, the more peripheral serotonin doesn’t cross over the blood brain barrier. So why not? We look at the foods which are the precursors to the neurotransmitters that then interact with the gut, microbes so fascinated by the gut microbiome. They interact with the gut microbes, and then they’re able to cross over the blood brain barrier and then form the substances that we need in the brain. So I’m thinking about things like serotonin or dopamine.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


‘Let me hit pause here to explain a couple of things about the gut. You probably know this, but the gut contains trillions of microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, fungi. Collectively, they are referred to as the gut microbiome. Now, these microorganisms or microbes aren’t just hanging out. They play an important role in our health, and they’re constantly interacting with each other and the rest of our body. While a few of those bacteria or pathogens are potentially harmful, many are helpful. For example, what they will do is they will break down food. They will then interact with their immune system. They will synthesize vitamins and amino acids, and then they communicate with other parts of the body. And that brings me to the second thing about the gut. It is sometimes called the “second brain.” And I think that’s a good title, and that’s because it uses many of the same chemicals and cells as the brain to do its job and to communicate. In fact, there is an extraordinary amount of crosstalk between the gut and the brain. This makes the gut very sensitive to emotions, anger, fear, anxiety. Those things can cause problems in the gut and vice versa when the gut feels bad. It can cause anxiety and other emotional issues. Understanding that might give new meaning to phrases like having butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, or a quote unquote gut feeling about a person or a situation. This is why Dr. Naidoo’ work is so important and intriguing. She says it is possible for food to impact how well our brain functions and how we feel mentally. For example, some ultra-processed foods have been linked to disrupting the gut microbiome in a way that increases the risk for depression. In contrast, some whole foods, such as bananas, help trigger the production of important chemicals in the gut, such as the molecule serotonin. But again, remember this point: much of the serotonin made in the gut cannot cross the blood brain barrier. And that is why Dr. Naidoo says we need to focus on the precursors to serotonin, which can then cross more easily and be assembled in the brain. Think of it like this: there are certain foods, for example, ones that are rich in the amino acid tryptophan that, when eaten, interact with the gut microbiome. You with me? And they become then the precursor or building blocks for serotonin. And then these building blocks cross into the brain, get converted into serotonin, and exert their influence. The reason that I’m repeating this so many times is because it is so important. What does this all mean? Eating foods like salmon or pineapple ones that are loaded with tryptophan could help you feel happier and calmer. That is a better definition of brain food.

Another fascinating bit of research that’s coming through is several microbiome companies testing the microbiome. So they are looking deep, more deeply into what’s in the microbiome and what you may need to eat versus what I might need to eat because the microbiome is so unique. Whether you take that substance as a supplement or you take it as a guidance around food, it can really help us more finely tune the way that we can be eating.

What level of evidence do you rely on to make your recommendations when it comes to food? How do you how do you collect that data and that evidence?

So I try to keep current with whatever the new research is. For example, there was a fascinating study done recently, and all of these years I’ve been encouraging my patients to eat foods that are rich in Vitamin A, and this particular study showed that actually vitamin D rich foods are not that helpful for for mood of your brain health. Another interesting study that one of those foods.

Not to cut you off. What kind of foods are we talking about?

So you know, eggs, smoked fish, oils, beef, liver, tomatoes, red bell pepper. Now, does it mean that those foods are foods I tell my patients not to eat? Absolutely not. Like with the new research about so and it’s more that I would have emphasized eating vitamin A rich foods along with that nutritional psychiatry plate. And I most importantly feel that what’s been my secret sauce has been integrating the actual literature, the research, and what I do clinically with seeing patients and being able to monitor them and see how they do. Because I think that, you know, please know that I come at this with great humility. I don’t feel because of whatever I’ve studied that, you know, I have the the way to make everyone feel better. But I’ve certainly seen my patients improve.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


You know, when I was growing up, maybe maybe you heard this as well when you were a child, that there are certain foods that were quote unquote, brain foods. Fish, for example, was was sort of considered a brain foods,.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


And my mom would always, you know, if you eat this, she’ll be smart. You know, that was always the the encouragement. But what of it, though? Are there are there foods that can reliably help our brains? What are they and and why?

‘So one of the groups I’ll start with, because people are pretty familiar with this, that the foods rich in omega three so things like fatty fish. The mnemonic for the fish that are top of that list is SMASH. So salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring because they contain forms of energy that are actually helpful for the brain and will actually make a difference. And they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Then, you know, people who don’t consume seafood can rely on the plant based sources like chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds. Having a vegan supplement or an algal oil supplement made from CLP is something that you can do to improve your brain performance if you feel you’re not getting enough nutrition from food. So that’s one very big group. And another group of foods that I think people tend to just think of only as a supplement but actually available in everyday foods are prebiotics and probiotics.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


‘Okay. I want to pause here again to offer a crash course in pre and probiotics – terms you’ve probably heard about. Probiotics are, quote, “live bacteria” that may offer health benefits when consumed in adequate numbers. You can find them in things like fermented foods, yogurt, kimchi. You can buy them in pill form. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are food for your microbiome. These are the organisms that are living in your gut, and prebiotic foods are usually higher in certain types of fiber and include items like fruit and veggies and whole grains. Now, as Dr. Naidoo said, it is hard to prescribe these foods to an exact timing or an exact dosage. But at the same time, we’ve been making a lot of progress there as well.

So when we think about food groups and omega threes, those probiotics, those prebiotics, those fermented foods all can actually be can be helpful in reducing things like anxiety and depression.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


We’ll be right back.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


And now back to Chasing Life and my conversation with nutritional psychiatrist Dr. Uma Naidoo. Now that I have a better sense of which and how certain foods might impact my mood, what I wanted to know was how food might affect my general brain health.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


So just having a dairy in nondairy plain yogurt would lower active cultures does help look at probiotics were actually tested in the in the study. And the use of probiotics were compared to a dose of the SSRI and the probiotics showed that effect. So…

Dr. Sanjay Gupta



Not to single out just one study. It has been shown again. But I think that’s compelling information that a person who is consuming something like yogurt or a fermented food is adding these probiotics and live cultures to their gut could in fact, be helping helping the gut microbes, helping maybe the certain information there. We don’t know the exact mechanisms of everything, but we can tell by the improvements in symptoms. For example, if I’m assessing someone my clinic, I have to go by their report, which may or may not be 100% accurate sometimes, but that happens with all of us. But also to check that the improvement of their mood, improvement in anxiety, that is one way to assess how they’re doing. And if these if these foods are making a difference.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


So you’re comparing yogurt to an antidepressant.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


It’s almost comical to to reflect on. But I mean, look, we take too many pills, you know, and these pills have side effects. And so the idea that yogurt could, and I don’t want to overstate this Dr. Naidoo, so you tell me, what did they find when they compared yogurt to an antidepressant in this study?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


So they found that individuals who consumed yogurt, along with, say, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, had an had a better response and improvement in mood. So it offered us a guidance in this area to basically think that, you know, we can use these interventions around the gut microbiome and the use of things like probiotics, which, you know, I think that most of my patients would rather reach for yogurt than, you know, an antidepressant.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


‘If I was to describe to my three teenage girls a well-nourished brain like, I think we can describe a healthy body, right? We can say you don’t have plaques in your blood vessels, you have good blood pressure, heart rate, all that sort of stuff. How, Dr. Naidoo, would you describe a well nourished brain? What do you what do you get in return?

Well, one thing you focus your energy and your ability to get through your day and not having that afternoon slump where you not quite sure, but you sluggish and you need another cup of coffee or candy bar, something more. If you’re athletic, if you’re engage in sport or other activities, having fun with your friends, going out, doing things, you’re going to have the energy to do that. Plus you’re going to be able to actually manage your schoolwork because your brain being optimized, eating in a healthy way will mean you can manage your schedule, you can multitask, you can you can engage in other activities and still get through school or can do well.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


80% of people over the age of 60 put fear of loss of memory is one of their top concerns. Fear of dementia of some sort. Are there foods that can help stave off diseases like dementia?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Yes, certainly some guidance around how what food to eat and how to eat it. So, you know, foods that will help cognition, we actually go back to those those omega threes. It’s it’s a group that’s featured very frequently. And olive oil also one that you lean into. The herb and spices that showed up doing well for cognition and for thinking and for memory are turmeric with that pinch of black pepper, which makes it much more bioavailable. Cinnamon, saffron, rosemary, ginger, sage, you know, and then so guidance around, you know, coffee was was thought if you if you keep your coffee, your caffeine consumption or your coffee consumption under 400 milligrams a day was thought to be healthy. But, you know, for me this is some guidance. While I know that those foods have been identified as healthy, it’s also part of an overall plate. It’s not just eating the not so eating. The other part is putting that together in a meal that’s still tasty makes a very big difference to balancing that up with people.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


I’m very interested in trying to stay as mentally sharp as possible as long as possible in my life. I’m in my early fifties now. I mean, well, you’ve talked about the specific food groups and things that are going to be probably the ones I should gravitate toward. But can you just like what an ideal breakfast and ideal lunch and ideal dinner? Should I be having all three meals? Should I intermittently fast snacks? How do you how would you put it together?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Right. So with intermittent fasting or with fasting in general, my patients are usually really see what their body intelligence is. And what I mean by that is how they respond to food. Do they wake up hungry? Do they need to take medications in the morning that require them to eat? Some people just naturally get up and they’re not hungry. And then we lean into more intuitive eating. Lean into what your body pattern is. I like people to have snacks because I’d rather they have some healthy nuts, so a little bit of berries that will nurture them through. Great breakfast, things like a chia pudding, rich in protein fiber, easy to make has your full chain omega threes in it and can be prepared ahead. Things like if you consume eggs, eggs with lots of veggies in them or version vegetarian version of that would be a tofu scramble. Again, lean into the spices, your fresh herbs because that’s a great way to go. I’m a fan of avocado toast. I love sort of bread as it has a fermented status. So the natural process of it is it has a slightly low sugar content like sliced tomato on it, the lycopene from tomato, super healthy for brain. And actually turns out that much of the lycopene is in the skin. So, you know, slice of tomatoes and leave the skin on for lunch. I like to lean into a really big salad and then put my favorite proteins with that. So lentils, legumes, some, some grow tofu or other things which flavor it up and make an interesting dressing that will make that enjoyable for you. Nuts and seeds are the way to to lean into it. And then my one of my favorite often snacks. And it’s funny because I love that chocolate and citrus like clementines are oranges. Okay, well, from a flavor profile in culinary school, but I recently, over the last few years discovered there’s actual science behind that. Extra dark chocolate is the highest source of plant based on color reason to eat dark chocolate.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Look, I’m never going to eat dark chocolate the same way again. I will always have it with a little citrus. I love little tips like that. That’s fantastic.

Exactly. And then the evening is when I usually end up having a big meal. Like I’ll do a cauliflower steak, but I’ll use the spices from, you know, from from tikka masala. So someone else in my family may have the chicken version, but I’ll have the cauliflower version. I can do it air fried grilled, but I always add in veggies around that. So salad, I find that to be satiating. It’s I know it’s helping my metabolism. So whether it’s the greens or the green beans or the Brussels sprouts or whatever it is, I add spices to them so that they’re more flavorful.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


So I didn’t hear any meat.

So I was actually I was born into a vegetarian family. So I’m vegetarian.

Should I be a vegetarian?

No, I think I think people should eat what they enjoy eating. I just think they should eat healthy versions. I happen to be in a family that’s everyone else’s me. So I think that has a place on that diet and that is does I feel like the B vitamins from meats something that as a vegetarian I supplement I think there’s also a place for plant based is.

I think that cuts are important. They’re really important for our brain the really important for a body but it’s where we obtain carbs.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


A lot of messaging shows seems to indicate that they’re toxic because of the glycemic index, the sugar, these types of things, the calories.

So all of those those true to many of those factors. But I think it’s the messaging has also got to show people that you need carbs for your body and for your brain to function, and it’s where you obtain your carbs. So if you’re eating a sugary donut with a coffee laced with highly processed cream and sugars, that’s very different from a avocado toast and sort of bread, maybe with some smoked salmon or a tofu scramble with tons of spinach and vegetables in a totally different product. They break down differently in your body.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Yeah, the healthy carbs versus the healthy proteins versus the healthy fats. You know, these big categories of food, we know that myelin coats the nerves and it’s kind of like the coating on a wire. A wire doesn’t conduct as well unless it has the coating on it. Myelin is sort of like that coating on nerves, and that’s made up. Primarily of fat. And there’s been people that I’ve talked to who have said you really need to focus on eating those fats to get that myelin. I would put that at the top of my list. In terms of brain foods, maybe not the healthiest cardiovascular, although, again, these are good fats, not the not that bad trans fats, if you look at healthy proteins, healthy fats, healthy carbs, how do you sort of think about it with regard to the impact on the brain?

So I think the balance is really important. I ask people to lean into all the different vegetables, and I’m not dealing with potatoes and sweet potatoes. I’m dealing with cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens and particules and lentils and beans. Then you want to think of your olive oil or your avocado, your salmon and your other healthy fats, and you want to think about really what I like to say, clean source of protein and what I mean by that. You know, have grilled, baked, you know, a stir fried tofu in a healthy way or air fried something or, you know, instead of something deep fried fish, for example. The fish itself may be healthy, but the method is not. Now, once in a while, of course, but not not as your everyday meal. And then I don’t forget fruit. So some berries, you know, a couple of seconds of foods super important and get those natural sugars into your body rather than, you know, reaching for the candy bar that we know is not the healthiest choice.

So what about sugar? And let me let me preface it by saying this. I did a piece for 60 Minutes years ago called “The Toxic Truth.” And we thought long and hard about what to title this because I didn’t want to be unfairly or unnecessarily alarmist. But when I talked to some of the nutritionists, when we were interviewing them, they said this is an appropriate title. The way we humans consume sugar is toxic. We consume too much. Our livers don’t know what to do with it. It hits our bodies like a tsunami wave and turns out these low density lipoproteins, the bad kind of cholesterol, which I thought was really interesting. The brain, when it’s exposed to too much sugar, the receptors will actually start to shut down. So you could be in a situation, as they outlined it to me, where you’re stuffing the body and starving the brain essentially at the same time. And that’s because you’re eating too much sugar. We know it’s a problem, but how bad is sugar for our brain?

So sugar is is a problem. But I also want people to understand we need sugar bodies and our brain. So it’s where you get the sugar that’s important. Metabolic health, the rise in type two diabetes, insulin resistance in this country, the fact that we have a problem with overweight and obese obesity in the country, There’s a reason. And I do think one of the biggest things is there’s so much sugar in our everyday foods, including our savory foods, like as pasta sauces, salad dressings, french fries at fast food restaurants are engineered to contain sugar. We don’t taste it, but they are really engineered to tap into our cravings.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


That sounds kind of sinister when you put it like that. Well, that I mean, it’s like it’s I mean, kind of I mean, I realize this is an opioids we’re talking about, but the idea of tapping into our cravings.

Well, you know, the research has shown that foods ultra processed and processed and ultra processed foods have a significant amount of brain science behind how they tap into cravings. And I think that the more that people understand the amount of sugar in our food. So I teach all my patients that four grams of sugar is one teaspoon, because our food labels are in grams and we cook and bake all our US cookbooks in pounds and ounces. So if a person goes to a yogurt, right, and it’s six ounces of four ounces, could have 24 grams of sugar in it, and you think, oh, that’s one fat. But actually you wouldn’t put that number of teaspoons into a plain yogurt.

So if you see four grams of sugar on the food label, imagine a full teaspoon of sugar going in 12 grams, three teaspoons. It’s a good visual. Let me ask you real quick: coffee, caffeine. Is that something that seems to come on and off the favored list? Where do you land on that when it comes to the brain?

I like coffee and I think that coffee has a lot of health benefits and it’s actually rich in polyphenols, the caffeine. My patients with anxiety can be sensitive, too, so it depends on what their tolerances. Interestingly, studies of ADHD in adults showed that coffee can help focus. So it’s a certain amount of coffee, not too much. So my patients who are struggling with ADHD or some issues are in focus and I encourage them if they tolerate coffee and they don’t become jittery, uncomfortable habit early in the day, not go more than. 2 to 3 cups. Have them be small cups. Also, clean up your coffee, meaning you have it the way that you like. But if you’re putting a half a cup of processed cream and sugar, that’s not helping your brain.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Can we manage anxiety with food? This is the topic of your your new book raging out just in time for the holidays right? I think.

It is. My new book is “Calm Your Mind with Food,” because during the pandemic, that’s what I saw, people really struggling all ages, all demographics with anxiety. And we know that even coming out of COVID, that the numbers have increased. So I feel that if we looked at an integrated approach to really using our anxiety more as a strength and using food to harness how we can feel better, I think I think it’ll help a lot of us.

I would I would like to imagine a world where we just didn’t have to take many of the medications that we take. I mean, you know, I mean, I am a doctor, you’re a doctor. There’s a role. But we spent $4 trillion on health care and an increasingly large percentage of that as prescription drugs. Food is the only signal we give the inside of our body from the outside world on a on a daily basis. And and it can be it can be therapeutic. It can make us feel better. And I just I really, really love the work that you do, Dr. Naidoo. I really admire it.

Thank you so much. Thank you for having me back. And it’s always it’s always great to talk to you. Always fascinating questions. I love it.

We talked for a long time, Dr. Naidoo and I, and she goes into even more depth in this connection between diet and anxiety in her new book, which is coming out in December. As I’ve told her, it’s an idea that I find really fascinating. It makes sense that food affects our bodies. It also affects our brains, and it does so quickly. So it makes total sense that it would affect our mental health as well. Food is more than just calories. It’s a signal, it’s a message. It affects more than your weight. And whether or not you have a flat stomach or not. Food can be a medicine. It can help stave off disease, manage our moods, help us think more clearly. So chew on that the next time you want to feel smarter or calmer next time.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


On Chasing Life, we have a very special episode for you. We’re going to be talking about the frightened brain, what happens in our brains when we get scared, and why do some people like feeling that way? Who better to answer those questions then, the king of horror himself, Stephen King.

Everything is is out to get you. You see, that’s the dark side of the imagination. But the good side of it is, is that you’re able to take reasonable precautions and watch out for either coronavirus or from Jason in the Friday the 13th movies. They both go together.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Thanks for listening. Chasing Life is a production of CNN Audio. Our podcast is produced by Eryn Mathewson, Madeleine Thompson, David Rind and Grace Walker, Our senior producer and showrunner is Felicia Patinkin. Andrea Kane is our medical writer and Tommy Barbarian is our engineer. Dan Dzula is our technical director and the executive producer of CNN Audio is Steve Lickteig. Special thanks to Ben Tinker, Amanda Sealy and Nadia Kounang of CNN Health.

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