You may be familiar with the gut-brain connection, but according to Harvard psychiatrist Chris Palmer, M.D., author of Brain Energy, truly understanding metabolism is the key to resolving mental health issues. “Metabolism is a process our cells use to break down the products of food, turn it into energy used to maintain or grow cells, and it involves the management of waste products,” he explains on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. “Metabolism is fundamental to the definition of life.” He even suggests that mental disorders are metabolic disorders of the brain.

And once you start to connect the dots, you may be able to reach the root of your mental health concerns, whatever they might be. “You can start to understand why neurotransmitters might be dysregulated. You can understand why hormones might be dysregulated. You can understand why vitamin and nutrition deficiencies can cause mental illness,” he adds. And ultimately, you can start to understand just how important a balanced diet is for your mental well-being.

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