Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health: A Complete Guide to the Food-Mood Connection
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN 10: 0393709949
ISBN 13: 978-0393709940
Exploring the connection between nutrition and mental wellness so therapists can provide more effective, integrated treatment.
Diet is an essential component of a client’s clinical profile. Few therapists, however, have any nutritional training, and many don’t know where to begin. In Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health, Leslie Korn provides clinicians with a practical guide to the complex relationship between what we eat and the way we think, feel, and interact with the world.
Where there is mental illness there is frequently a history of digestive and nutritional problems. Digestive problems in turn exacerbate mental distress, all of which can be improved by nutritional changes. It’s not unusual for a deficit or excess of certain nutrients to disguise itself as a mood disorder. Indeed, nutritional deficiencies factor into most mental illness―from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and PTSD―and dietary changes can work alongside or even replace medications to alleviate symptoms and support mental wellness.
Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health offers the mental health clinician the principles and practices necessary to provide clients with nutritional counseling to improve mood and mental health. Integrating clinical evidence with the author’s extensive clinical experience, it takes clinicians step-by-step through
the essentials for integrating nutritional therapies into mental health treatment. Throughout, brief clinical vignettes illustrate commonly encountered obstacles and how to overcome them.
Readers will learn:
• Why nutrition matters in mental health
• The role of various nutrients in nourishing both the brain and the gut, the “second brain”
• Typical nutritional culprits that underlie or exacerbate specific mental disorders
• Assessment techniques for evaluating a client’s unique nutritional needs, and counseling methods for the challenging but rewarding process of nutritional change.
• Leading-edge protocols for the use of various macro- and micronutrients, vitamins, and supplements to improve mental health
• Considerations for food allergies, sensitivities, and other special diets
• The effects of foods and nutrients on DSM-5 categories of illness, and alternatives to pharmaceuticals for treatment
• Comprehensive, stage-based approaches to coaching clients about dietary plans, nutritional supplements, and other resources
• Ideas for practical, affordable, and individualized diets, along with optimal cooking methods and recipes
• Nutritional strategies to help with withdrawal from drugs, alcohol and pharmaceuticals
And much more. With this resource in hand, clinicians can enhance the efficacy of all their methods and be prepared to support clients’ mental health with more effective, integrated treatment.
“Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health is a textbook, a protocol guide, a cookbook, and a resource guide all-in-one, with many appendices and charts that will easily become a go-to reference for integrative health practitioners of all disciplines treating clients with mental health conditions. . . . Korn has done a tremendous job of assimilating medical nutritional information from across many cultures and traditional practices. All ages are covered, with many suggestions on how to make nutrition fun for children and adults alike. . . . Her approach is gentle and encouraging . . . without being overwhelming or discouraging to the client.”
- The Townsend Letter
“[A] complete and highly usable guide to the landscape of nutrition and the mind-body connection that the student, clinician and patient alike can connect to and learn from. . . . [A]s a patient who suffered from the nutritional deficiencies and medical issues as well as the mental health concerns described, I would have greatly benefited from this book during my illness. . . . As compared to other texts, [this book] is written in a more accessible tone for those without an extensive background in medicine and psychology; it also strikes me as a more beneficial resource due to the appendices, which are packed with recipes, charts of nutrients and their impacts, and the detailed examples of treatment plans that show the harmony of nutritional therapy when treating everything from seasonal affective disorder to schizophrenia.”
“To say this book is a complete guide is an understatement . . . Dr. Korn manages to offer every imaginable support one needs from peer-reviewed data validating her assertions to sample dialogues, case vignettes, goal setting procedures and essential outcomes. . . . The Appendices are a treasure trove in themselves with comprehensive resources, guidelines, recipes, a sample client intake form, food-mood diary, and lists of foods containing gluten, lactose, casein, dairy, corn and oh so much more. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the go-to textbook for clinicians wanting to bring awareness to food and its impact on their clients’ mental health. . . . [T]his isn’t the kind of book you read once and set on the shelf; rather, it’s a companion to reference throughout the day working with clients, listening to friends and hearing your own body speak.”
- Somatic Psychotherapy Today
“There are excellent case scenarios, question/answer sections, recipes, and activities throughout the book . . . . [A]ny healthcare professional with a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology will benefit from reading the book and learning how food and nutritional deficiencies can negatively affect a person’s mood, mental health, and physical health.”
- Metapsychology Online Reviews
“[A] much needed addition to the field of mental health. . . . Though the book is written by and for clinicians, clients and those interested in nutrition will also find this book accessible. Chapter three is particularly helpful for therapists, as it includes a clinician checklist, food journals, and sample dialogue with a client for those new to addressing nutrition in a clinical counseling session. This easy-to-read guide is an invaluable resource for mental health professionals and is highly recommended.”
- American Reference Books Annual
“If there is one book that I would recommend for mental health professionals to use when discussing dietary changes with their clients, this is it. It covers every conceivable aspect of the interaction between diet and mental health, and synthesizes all of the leading research into a highly readable text.”
- Lila Elizabeth Massoumi, MD, ABIHM, Chair of the APA Caucus on Complementary, Alternative, & Integrative Medicine
“Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health is an absolute must-read for all mental health professionals, and highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand the connection between what we eat and how our minds function. Dr. Korn brings two crucial concepts to the table: the importance of the diet of our ancestors and the significance of biochemical individuality. This book will change lives!”
- Gray L. Graham, BA, NTP, President and Founder of the Nutritional Therapy Association
“I highly recommend this book to any professional or clinician working in the mental health field, as it will provide an invaluable resource for their patients. Korn's unique ability to articulate a collaborative approach toward compassionate mental health care is refreshing. With years of clinical experience supported by decades of evidence-based research, her book enables clinicians to help their patients understand the underlying biological processes driving their mood and behavior and make the necessary changes to restore balance.”
- James M. Greenblatt, MD, Integrative Psychiatrist, Editor of Integrative Therapies for Depression
“Leslie Korn has written the essential book for mental health care providers. As I read Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health, I was astonished at the level of detail. It is engagingly written and fascinatingly encyclopedic in its reach. The delicious recipes alone provide a pathway to health. This book should be a bible for the mental health field.”
- Peggy Knickerbocker, James Beard Award-winning cookbook author
“A must-read guidebook for patients and practitioners. This comprehensive mental health care resource illuminates the landscape of nutrition, including the latest research on the gut-brain connection, the role food intolerances can play in disrupting the nervous system, supplement guidelines, and powerful food-as-medicine strategies.”
- Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND, author of The Swift Diet
About the Author
Leslie Korn, PhD, is a clinician specializing in mental health nutrition and integrative medicine. A core faculty member of Capella University’s Mental Health Counseling Program, she served as a Fulbright scholar on traditional medicine, a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School, and a National
Institutes of Health-funded research scientist in mind/body medicine. In 1975, she founded the Center for Traditional Medicine, a public health clinic in rural indigenous Mexico that she directed for over 25 years. Author of six books, she teaches and consults internationally for mental health professionals and tribal communities.
James Lake, MD, is on the clinical faculty at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He practices in Central California.