The Better Brain Book Summary - The Better Brain Book explained in key points
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The Better Brain summary

Bonnie J. Kaplan and Julia J. Rucklidge

Overcome Anxiety, Combat Depression, and Reduce ADHD and Stress with Nutrition

4 (251 ratings)
22 mins

What is The Better Brain about?

The Better Brain (2021) serves up the ultimate mental health cure: good nutrition. With numerous anecdotes, case studies, recipes, and actionable tips, it explores the connection between what we eat and how we feel – and shows how a healthy diet can help battle mental problems.

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    The Better Brain
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    Key idea 1 of 7

    Good nutrition can do more for your mental health than pharmaceutical potions.

    The notion of curing sickness through food is not a new concept. More than 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates wrote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.” And just a century ago, an article in The People’s Home Library advised readers to tackle mental-health problems by eating better. 

    The problem is that the message hasn’t always gotten through. 

    Take the story of ten-year-old Andrew, who had symptoms of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and psychosis. His parents were getting increasingly desperate. Andrew had been treated, medicated, even hospitalized. Nothing seemed to work – until he was prescribed multinutrients, which included an array of vitamins and minerals. Within ten months, his OCD was gone. 

    The key message here is: Good nutrition can do more for your mental health than pharmaceutical potions. 

    It wasn’t just Andrew’s OCD that went away. Next, his symptoms of psychosis vanished. Now an adult, Andrew has graduated from high school and has a job. What’s more, the nutrients cost just 2 percent of what his parents had been paying for his inpatient care.

    If such an easy, affordable, and available cure can be found right in your pantry or local grocery store, why isn’t food touted more? Why don’t psychiatrists prescribe multinutrients or a change in diet instead of a drug regimen?

    The answer is simple: money. The committees that write the clinical practice guidelines are tied to drug companies through funding. And there’s another problem, too: societal norms mean we’ve grown used to treating everything with medicine. 

    From their earliest years in medical school, psychiatrists are trained to prescribe drugs. And since 1985, when direct-to-consumer advertising started, our population has been increasingly eager to consume them. The change in advertising laws didn’t just mean that people were suddenly inundated with ads for medications; it also meant they were discovering more and more conditions for which they could get a magic pill.

    Some medications have only been approved based on 6–12-week clinical trials but are regularly prescribed to patients for life. They often have side effects or are extremely addictive. And yet we rarely stop to ask whether drugs are the best answer.

    It’s time to take a step back. In the next blinks, we’ll look at how to fix your nutritional habits and build better mental health without relying on pharmaceuticals.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Bonnie Kaplan is a psychologist, researcher, and professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. She writes and teaches about nutrition and mental health. Dr. Julia Rucklidge is a clinical psychologist at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She has conducted extensive research on micronutrients. 

    Who should read The Better Brain?

    • People living with anxiety, stress, or depression
    • Parents looking to improve their children’s mental health
    • Anyone interested in living a healthier life

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